Start where you are.
Use what you have.
Do what you can.
- Arthur Ashe
Start where you are.
Use what you have.
Do what you can.
Exercising and having the proper diet are two of the most important aspects to have a healthier life. However, it is a full time job for professional athletes in order to reach their goals and win the competitions they are preparing for. Athletes have a strict program and routine around the year, and it is all in order to improve and get more prizes, so that is when anabolic steroids are being used by some athletes. Anabolic-androgenic steroids, “is the familiar name for synthetic substances related to the male sex hormones (e.g., testosterone). They promote the growth of skeletal muscle (anabolic effects) and the development of male sexual characteristics (androgenic effects) in both males and females” (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2006, n.p.). Using anabolic steroids helps athletes to exceed their limits and to keep improving their skills and take it to a whole new level after years of training. The abuse of using anabolic steroids can be found in all sports; however, it is well known in body building and weight lifting competitions. Body building contests depends on muscle size and shape, and weight lifting depends on power and strength, both of their goal can be done by using anabolic steroids. Furthermore, this research paper is going to answer several questions:
What is anabolic steroids? How does it work in the human body?
Anabolic steroids are the synthetic form of the male sex hormone, and it helps the skeletal muscle to grow. According to Woolston, “Anabolic steroids are a class of synthetic drugs that closely mimic male sex hormones such as testosterone. They can be taken orally, applied as a patch, spread on the skin in cream or gel form, or injected.” (Health Day, 2014, n.p.). As mentioned the anabolic steroids are substances that driven from the male sex hormone which is naturally produced by the human body. However, users claim that the amount produced by the human body is not enough to get the muscle mass and strength they are looking for. According to Dr. Lamb in his study, “Testosterone and synthetic androgenic-anabolic steroids bind with an androgen receptor in the cytoplasm of skeletal muscles, prostate gland, and other target organs.55 5’ s’ This steroid-receptor complex eventually causes the genetic machinery of the cell nucleus to produce ribonucleic acid at a faster rate, and the increased ribonucleic acid synthesis is translated into the synthesis of more protein at the ribosomes of the cell.” (1984, 31). When anabolic steroids injected in the body, it interact with the muscle cell helping it to grow faster. There is no doubt that anabolic steroids have a huge effect in gaining weight and enhancing the performance of athletes; however, researchers has some doubts about the side effect of it, and that will be explained more in this paper.
What is the history behind anabolic steroids? How did it begin?
The history of the beginning of anabolic steroids referred to the early of 1930’s. At that time scientist created a synthetic form of the male hormone (testosterone) in order to help men who had problem to produce it naturally or for who had sexual functioning issues. Moreover, anabolic steroids were used in World War II on soldiers, after they found that it helps them to gain weight and improve their performance. However, it was involved in the sport fields just after the war by athletes who wanted to enhance their performance in competitions. According to Center for Substance Abuse Research, “In the 1956 Olympics, Soviet athletes, especially wrestlers, performed at exceptionally high levels. After learning that those athletes were using testosterone, an American physician (Dr. Zeigler) created a more selective form of what we know as anabolic steroids. From that point until the early 1970's, steroids became increasingly popular among not just Olympic athletes, but also professional sports players and high school athletes.” (2013, n.p.). In addition, the use of anabolic steroids was banned by the International Olympic Committee in 1975 in all the Olympic competition. However, the black market sales of anabolic steroids were growing even after 1990 were there was penalties for the sale and possession of steroids enforced by the law (Center for Substance Abuse Research, 2013, n.p.). Today, anabolic steroids are still illegal in the United States of America, but there is a great number of adolescent and adult users who use it without any medical supervision.
What are the side effects of anabolic steroids on athletes?
Anabolic steroids have different effects in men and women, also there are good side effects and bad side effects. According to National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Anabolic steroid abuse has been associated with a wide range of adverse side effects ranging from some that are physically unattractive, such as acne and breast development in men, to others that are life threatening, such as heart attacks and liver cancer. Most are reversible if the abuser stops taking the drugs, but some are permanent, such as voice deepening in females.” (2006, n.p.). Beginning with the hormonal system, taking steroids disrupts the normal productions of hormones in the human body, which can cause infertility, breast development, shrinking of the testicles, and baldness in men. On the other hand, women may face other side effects such as masculinization, breast size and body fat decrease, clitoris enlargement, and growth of body hair. Moreover, there are many effects on the cardiovascular systems and they are shared by males and females like high blood pressure, heart attacks, and heart enlargement. Also, there is the danger of liver function, and viral infection such as HIV if it was injected and needles were shared. However, there are many good side effects of using anabolic steroids such as gaining weight and loosing fat, increase in muscle size, increase in strength and power, and improve in healing and appetite. Anabolic steroids have its good and bad side just like any prescribed drug.
How are anabolic steroids abused in the sport?
Anabolic steroids are used by athletes in different sports, and every athlete uses it to reach a different goal. In fact, the number of athletes who uses anabolic steroids in competition is very high in sport as the study of Dr. Lamb says, “These sources suggest that anabolic steroids are used by 80 to 100% of national and international-caliber male body builders, weight lifters and participants in the shot put, discus, hammer, and javelin throws, and to a lesser extent by American football players and competitors in other sports.” (1984, 32). On the other hand, there are several ways to take anabolic steroids for example, it can be injected, or taken by mouth, or applied to the skin as cream or gel. Moreover, athletes inject their self with doses that are much higher than what the body produce and higher than the amount that a doctor would prescribe to a patient as WebMD says in their article, “The dose of illegal anabolic steroids is 10 to 100 times higher than the dose a doctor prescribes for medical problems. People often use more than one of these illegal drugs at the same time. This is called stacking. Or they may take the drugs in a cycle from no drug to a high dose over a period of weeks to months. This is called pyramiding.” (2013, n.p.). Users use different methods in order to get the maximum results of anabolic steroids such as stacking, which more than one type of steroids are used at the same cycle. On the other hand, others may use the pyramid method which the doses go higher to the middle of the cycle then it goes back to a lower dose at the end of the cycle. Furthermore, users will take high doses of anabolic steroids to help them increase the muscle mass, ability to exercise, and the losing fat process while minimizing the bad side effects of it at the same time. Also, anabolic steroids users claim that changing the methods of taking steroids or the doses shocks the body and gives better results. There are many methods are used to take anabolic steroids; however, the side effects are about the same.
In conclusion, anabolic steroids are synthetic substances from the family of the male sex hormone (testosterone) which are used by male and females to enhance their performance. Moreover, the beginning of using anabolic steroids referred to the 1930’s and it had a long way developing until these days. However, it has many good and bad side effects to both gender males and females. Moreover, anabolic steroids are taken by athletes without medical supervision, which may lead to serious health problems. Athletes keep relying on anabolic steroids in their competitions regardless of the danger behind it that was proven by scientists.
Anabolic Steroid Abuse. (2006, August 1). Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/anabolic-steroid-abuse/what-are-anabolic-steroids
Center for Substance Abuse Research. (2013, October 29). Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://www.cesar.umd.edu/cesar/drugs/steroids.asp
Lamb, D. (1984). Anabolic Steroids In Athletics: How Well Do They Work And How Dangerous Are They? The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 12(1), 31-38.
Steroid Effects: Abuse of Anabolic Steroids. (2013, April 22). Retrieved February 26, 2015, from http://www.webmd.com/men/guide/anabolic-steroid-abuse-topic-overview
What are the health consequences of steroid abuse? (2006, August 1). Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/anabolic-steroid-abuse/what-are-health-consequences-steroid-abuse
Woolston, C. (2014, March 11). Anabolic Steroids. Retrieved February 25, 2015, from http://consumer.healthday.com/encyclopedia/exercise-and-fitness-18/misc-health-news-265/anabolic-steroids-647199.html
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