Explained: What are anabolic steroids and how does it impact one’s health?

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What is the News?

Recently, two Tokyo Olympians have been banned for using anabolic steroids.

What are Anabolic Steroids?

Anabolic steroids are essentially lab-made versions of the male hormone testosterone and have a similar effect of increasing muscle mass as the natural hormone does.

How are they different from normal steroids prescribed by doctors?

They are very different from the steroids that are prescribed by doctors for inflammations, and several autoimmune diseases. These steroids are called corticosteroids and are lab-made molecules that mimic the action of the hormone called cortisol which controls the body’s stress response, metabolism and inflammation.

What are anabolic Steroids normally prescribed for?

They are mainly used by doctors to a) help patients gain weight after a severe illness or injury, b) prescribed in small doses to the elderly to build muscle mass and c) to men who have low levels of natural testosterone.

How are anabolic steroids misused?

Anabolic steroids are misused mainly by those who want to bulk up as it helps increase one’s muscle mass.

What are the health impacts of anabolic steroids?

The use of anabolic steroids in the short term can cause acne and hairfall. Extended misuse of the substance can also lead to gynecomastia (growth of breasts in men) and erectile dysfunction.

In women, it can lead to the growth of facial hair. It may also cause extreme anger, paranoia, and impaired judgement.

Long-term use can lead to kidney disease and even failure, liver damage and tumours, enlarged heart and high blood pressure. It can also lead to stunted growth in teenagers.

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: What are anabolic steroids and how does it impact one’s health?” published in Indian Express on 2nd May 2022.

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