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Steroids

Steroids Drugs have been used in sports almost as long as sports themselves have been around. The ancient Incas discovered that the ashes from burned leaves of the Coca tree gave the people great stores of energy, and made sleep unnecessary for hours or even days, it was later discovered to be the stimulant cocaine. They would take it before long hunts, battles, and even found it useful in ancient sport competitions. It wasn’t until 1886 that the first drug-related death in sports occurred. A bicyclist took a mixture of cocaine and heroine, called the speedball, and died from it.

Little were the doctors aware the epidemic that would follow in the next century. Anabolic steroids, developed in the 1930’s in Europe, are drugs that help to build new body tissue quickly, but with drastic side effects. Anabolic means the ability to promote body growth and repair body tissue. It comes from the Greek word anabolikos meaning constructive. Steroids are basically made up of hormones. One woman training to make the 1984 US women’s basketball team used them, her muscles started to bulge, her voice grew deeper, and she even had the beginnings of a mustache. These are all the usual symptoms of anabolic steroids.

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Steroids were not always used for sports, they started out the same way most drugs did, medicinal purposes. Victims of starvation and severe injury profited from it’s ability to build new tissue quickly. They also helped prevent muscle tissue from withering in patients who had just had surgery. Steroids are used to treat Addison’s disease. Anabolic steroids are drugs that come from hormones or from combinations of chemicals that achieve the same result as hormones.

Hormones may be given to an individual in their natural state, or in a synthetic one. The synthetic state is sometimes more potent than the natural one. Testosterone and progesterone are hormones used in steroids, another kind comes from the adrenal glands, which secrete various necessary bodily chemicals. The steroids themselves can be taken orally, as tablets or powders, and can also be liquids that are injected into the muscles. The steroids taken by athletes contain testosterone or chemicals that act in similar way to testosterone.

Testosterone is found in men and women, but in women it is present in much smaller amounts, mainly because it is produced in the testicles in men. More than one hundred and twenty steroids are based on the hormone testosterone. There are many brand names, such as Durabolin, Winstrol, Pregnyl, and Anavar. Basically anabolic steroids control the bodily functions that are normally under control of the bodies natural testosterone. As well as turning women into men and men into manly men it has a stimulate effect on skeletal muscle mass, some visceral organs, the hemoglobin concentration, and the red blood cell number and mass. Of course, most people take anabolic steroids illegally to stimulate growth in muscle cells.

Once a person is born, he/she will not grow anymore muscle cells throughout their life. So when muscle mass increases it is the individual cells growing in girth to compensate for either an increase in work, or the release of androgen hormones(found in all anabolic steroids.) Exercise alone can stimulate the girth of muscle cells to increase by anywhere from thirty to sixty percent. The presence of androgen hormones allows for even greater growth. Anabolic steroids act like our natural androgen hormones in that they stimulate anabolic metabolism in the muscles. Anabolic metabolism involves the buildup of larger molecules from smaller ones and includes all the constructive processes used to manufacture the substances needed for cellular growth and repair. As a result of steroids stimulating anabolic metabolism, muscles increase in size to a substantially greater size than they would have been if the individual only exercised.

Doctors take different views on prescribing steroids. Most dislike the use of them in sports, and some will not prescribe them at all for use in sports. They see them as dangerous for healthy individuals, and the taking of drugs to get a winning edge they see as cheating. Others don’t like steroids, but will prescribe them, knowing their patient, if not given them by their doctor, will get them from somewhere else. This way they can regulate them, tell the patient the correct way to use them, and keep an eye on them.

Still others doctors consider steroids safe when administered under medical supervision, which includes carefully regulating dosages and watching for the first signs of trouble. A fourth view doctors take is recognizing the possibility that although sometimes steroids do serious harm, the same can be said of minor drugs, such as aspirin. Millions of people take aspirin daily, because the benefits greatly outweigh the risks, and suffer no harm as a consequence, and the doctors feel the same is true about steroids. When under medical supervision, doctors feel their patients are safe because of their good physical condition and the drugs can be stopped if trouble begins to show. They feel that with steroids, much like with aspirin, the benefits greatly outweigh the risks.

None of these views can be proven correct or incorrect, but one thing is certain. Steroids used without medical supervision do the greatest harm. The athletes generally do not know how much to take, and take doses that are too large right from the start. Many doctors believe that steroids can lead to heart attacks and even strokes. Steroids cause extreme bloating because they create an imbalance of chemicals in the body and to regain that balance the body holds water. This extra fluid raises the blood pressure and could cause strokes and heart-attacks.

Steroids are also suspected of bringing on liver and kidney failure. The steroids seem just as capable of destroying tissues as creating it. Women are seen as being especially endangered by steroids because of the increased amounts of testosterone. Testosterone steroids are androgenic drugs, which means they promote masculinity. Although women produce small amounts naturally, it is a male hormone.

The testosterone present is kept in balance with estrogen, the female hormone. Like testosterone for males, estrogen gives females their feminine characteristics. The woman may bald, grow excess bodily hair, including a mustache, they lose the gentle curves of their body, their skin roughens, weight is gained, and the voice deepens. An unborn child is also endangered, female’s unborn babies will develop such male traits as extra hair, and all unborn children, according to a few doctors, are subject to be handicapped and deformed. Men also are endangered.

They may experience a shrinking of the testicles, called atrophy, accompanied by a lowered sperm count, a lessening of sexual desire, infertility, and an enlargement of the prostate gland that men under fifty usually do not suffer from. Steroids are dangerous when used incorrectly, and should be used only under medical supervision. It has undesired side effects for men, women, and even the unborn Bibliography Research http://www.cesar.umd.edu/metnet/docs/steroids.htm Internet Research http://www2.msstate.edu/~jfw1/Steroids4.htm Internet Research http://www.musclenow.com/steroids.html Internet Research http://www.nevdgp.org.au/geninf/adf/anabolic.htm Internet Research http://www.bigsport.com/steroids/anabol1.htm.

Steroids

Steroids Ever since their introduction into sports in the later 1950’s the use of anabolic steroids has been a controversial issue. Much debate has arisen dealing with whether steroids should be allowed for performance enhancement. If you’re not familiar with them, The 1994 Merrian-Webster Dictionary defines an anabolic steroid as, “any of a group of synthetic hormones sometimes taken by athletes in training to increase temporarily the size of their muscles.” However, it’s not just the athletes preparing for rigorous competition that have been using these drugs. Business Weekly told of a study performed by the University of Illinois School of Public Health in which the results were shocking. According to Paul Goldstein, the chief investigator, individuals from all walks of life have admitted to the use of steroids.

He states,”We’re finding firemen, students, lawyers, teachers- people from all economic classes–most of them taking the drugs for cosmetic reasons” (177) All of these individuals had admitted to use because of the positive effects the steroids provide for their appearance. Along with these positive effects also come the negative ones. Symptoms such as acne, psychotic states, paranoia, headaches, high blood pressure, heart failure, strokes, and liver and kidney damage with quite a lengthy list of other harmful side effects related to extensive use. According to Dr. Robert Vow in his book Drugs, Sports, and Poli! tics, along with trying to keep competitions fair and equal for all who entered, these were the main reason that anabolics have been banned from sports since the 1976 Olympic games. Since these early years, not much has been heard about the use of steroids. True, occasional incidents remind us they are still around .

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For instance, when Ben Johnson was stripped of his gold medial in the 1988 Seoul Olympics and Lyle Alzado’s death in 1992. For the most part though things seemed to have quieted down. This is speculated to be from the growing efforts to educate athletes and individuals on the extreme dangers associated with these steroids. Along with this education, one can not escape hearing the horror stories about what these drugs have already done to others and what it will do to them after prolonged use. With such an impressively long list of harmful side effects associated with steroid use, one could be certain that individuals would shy away from them. After all, the original purpose is to enhance their physical stature, not risk damaging it.

We’d like to think that due to the strict regulation on today’s athletes in competition, it would cause them to think twice before using steroids. Another possible reason for the declining use is that they’re nearly impossible to get since they were barred from non-medical distribution back in 1991. These are definitely good points and one could easily be persuaded that such is the case . However, not everyone shares the same point of view. The other school of thought is that steroid use and abuse is just as wide spread today as ever, if not even more rampant. Athletes’ feeling are that the gains far outweigh the risks even if they are just temporary enhancements. There are only a dozen or so reported fatalities dealing with steroid use, therefore individuals consider their odds to be pretty good.

As far as regulation is concerned, as long as there have been steroids, there have been ways around the detection testing in an athlete’s system. Another theory plays on the fact that it’s not only the elite athletes using them. Teenagers and kids using them for appearance are becoming an increased percentage of users. This can be traced to images of large Herculean type men portrayed in all forms of media today. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a prime example sine he has admitted to the use of anabolic steroids.

Kids are inspired by him and several other athletes and movie stars who they admire and want to emulate. Getting these anabolics may not be hard as one thinks. Just like any illegal substance, there are ways to obtain steroids for private use. Many think that there are enough smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico, Canada, and several eastern European to keep the current black market a thriving business.

Are anabolic steroids still prevalent in the world of athletics or are people learning their lesson? Is it just the advanced athletics we have to worry about? Will further education help? Just who do we need to educate? A lot of questions have arisen on the current status of steroids. These are all questions that need to be answered to learn about what is presently happening with anabloic steroid use. Works Cited Rosin, Skip. “Steroids and sports: What Price Glory?” Business Week, New Jersey: McGraw-Hill Inc. October 1994.

p.177 Vow, Robert, Dr. Drugs, Sports, and Politics,Illinois: Leisure Press. 1991.

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