Understanding the risks of performance-enhancing drugs

If you are thinking of taking performance-enhancing drugs to win a competition or a sport, please stop! You need to know its effects on your body.

Most determined athletes will tell you that the effort to win is vicious. There is a lot of pressure on an athlete, not only for his personal satisfaction but to win for his country and bring joy for the nation or securing a spot on a professional team pursue him to use immoral ways(drugs). Due to these circumstances, the use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs is increasing day by day.
But the joy comes with the very high risk. Before using performance-enhancing drugs likeanabolic steroids, androstenedione, human growth hormone, erythropoietin, diuretics, creatine,and stimulants, take your time to learnabout the potential benefits and health risks. You may decide that the benefits aren’t worth the risks.

Anabolic steroids:-

What are they?

Some athletes use a kind of steroids known as anabolic-androgenic steroids or just anabolic steroids. The main anabolic steroid hormone produced by your body is testosterone.

> Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone and an anabolic steroid.
> In male humans, testosterone plays a key role in the development of male reproductive tissues such as testes and prostate.
> It also promotes secondary sexual characteristics such as increased muscle and bone mass, and the growth of body hair and a deeper voice.

Some athletes take straight testosterone to boost their performance. The anabolic steroids used by athletes are often synthetic modifications of testosterone.

These hormones have approved medical uses. But improving athletic performance isn’t one of them.
Why are these drugs so appealing to athletes?

> It makes muscles bigger.
> Anabolic steroids may reduce the muscle damage that occurs during a hard workout, helping athletes recover from the session more quickly and enabling them to work out harder and more frequently.
> Some athletes, as well as non-athletes, may like the muscular appearance they get when they take the drugs.

Designer steroids:-

Another type of anabolic steroids is named as designer drugs. These are very dangerous and full of side effects. They are even not tested or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which represents a health threat to athletes. Designer steroids are synthetic steroids which are specially made for athletes but they have no approved medical use.

Risks:-

Many athletes take high doses of anabolic steroids more than prescribed for medical use. Anabolic steroids have dangerous side effects on your body.

In men:-

It may develop;

> Prominent breasts.
> Shrunken testicles.
> Infertility.
> Prostate gland enlargement.

In women:-

> A deeper voice, which may be irreversible.
> An enlarged clitoris, which may be irreversible.
> Increased body hair.
> Baldness, which may be irreversible.
> Infrequent or absent periods.

Both men and women might experience:-

> Severe acne.
> Increased risk of tendinitis and tendon rupture.
> Liver abnormalities and tumors.
> Increased low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol).
> Decreased high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol.
> High blood pressure (hypertension).
> Heart and blood circulation problems.
> Aggressive behaviors, rage or violence.
> Psychiatric disorders, such as depression.
> Drug dependence.
> Infections or diseases such as HIV or hepatitis if you’re injecting the drugs.

Inhibited growth and development, and risk of future health problems in teenagers.The use of Anabolic-androgenic steroids is banned by many sports organizations. These drugs are made either in other countries and smuggled or prepared in some secret labs. In the past 20 years, more-effective law enforcement in the United States has pushed much of the illegal steroid industry into the black market.

Androstenedione:-

What is it?

Adrenal glands, ovaries,and testesproduce a hormone, which is called Androstenedione (andro). This hormone is normally converted to testosterone and a form of estrogen (estradiol) in both men and women.

Andro has medical uses and is allowed only on prescription. Its use as a performance-enhancing drug is illegal.But scientific studies disprove these claims and tested that supplemental androstenedione doesn’t increase testosterone and that your muscles don’t get stronger with androstenedione use.

Risks:-

Side effects of andro in men include:-

> Acne.
> Diminished sperm production.
> Shrinking of the testicles.
> Enlargement of the breasts.

In women, side effects include:-

> Acne
> Masculinization, such as deepening of the voice and male-pattern baldness
> In both men and women, it can damage the heart and blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Human growth hormone:-

What is it?

Human growth hormone, also known as gonadotropin, is a hormone that has an anabolic effect. Athletes take it to improve muscle mass and performance. However, it hasn’t been shown conclusively to improve either strength or endurance.
Human growth hormone is available only by prescription and is administered by injection.

Risks:-

Adverse effects related to human growth hormone range in severity and may include:

> Joint pain.
> Muscle weakness.
> Fluid retention.
> Diabetes.
> Vision problems.
> Carpal tunnel syndrome.
> Impaired glucose regulation.
> Diabetes.
> Enlarged heart (cardiomegaly.
> High blood pressure (hypertension).

Erythropoietin:-

What is it?

Erythropoietin is a type of hormone used to treat anemia in people with severe kidney disease. It increases the production of red blood cells and hemoglobin. Erythropoietin improves the movement of oxygen to the muscles.

Athletes commonly use a type of drug, which is a synthetic form oferythropoietin named as Epoetin.

Risks:-

Its side effects include:

> Increased risk of stroke.
> Heart attack.
> Blockage in an artery in the lung.

Diuretics:-

What are they?

Diuretics are drugs that change your body’s natural balance of fluids and salts (electrolytes), which can lead to dehydration. This loss of water can decrease an athlete’s weight, which many athletes prefer. Diuretics may also help athletes pass drug tests by diluting their urine and are sometimes referred to as a “masking” agent.

Risks:-

Side effects include:

> Dehydration.
> Muscle cramps.
> Dizziness.
> Potassium deficiency.
> Drop in blood pressure.
> Loss of coordination and balance.
> Death.

Creatine:-

What is it?

Many athletes take nutritional supplements instead of or in addition to performance-enhancing drugs. Supplements are available as powders or pills. Creatine monohydrate is a supplement that’s popular among athletes.

Creatine is a naturally occurring compound produced by your body that helps your muscles release energy. Scientific research indicates that creatine may have some athletic benefit by producing small gains in short-term bursts of power.

Creatine appears to help muscles make more adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which stores and transports energy in cells and is used for quick bursts of activity, such as weightlifting or sprinting. But there’s no evidence that creatine enhances performance in aerobic or endurance sports.

Risks:-

Possible side effects of creatine that can decrease athletic performance include:

> Stomach cramps.
> Muscle cramps.
> Weight gain.
> Dehydration.

It appears safe for adults to use creatine at the doses recommended by manufacturers.

Stimulants:-

What are they?

Some athletes use stimulants to stimulate the central nervous system and increase heart rate and blood pressure.Stimulants can boost physical performance and promote aggressiveness on the field.They help:

> Improve endurance.
> Reduce fatigue.
> Suppress appetite.
> Increase alertness and aggressiveness.

Common stimulants include caffeine and amphetamines. Cold remedies often contain the stimulants ephedrine or pseudoephedrine hydrochloride.
Energy drinks, which are popular among many athletes, often contain high doses of caffeine and other stimulants.

The street drugs cocaine and methamphetamine also are stimulants.

Risks:-

They have side effects that can impair athletic performance, including:

> Nervousness and irritability.
> Insomnia.
> Dehydration.
> Heatstroke.
> Addiction.

Other side effects include:

> Heart palpitations.
> Heart rhythm abnormalities.
> Weight loss.
> Tremors.
> Mild high blood pressure.
> Hallucinations.
> Stroke.
> Heart attack and other circulatory problems.

Do performance-enhancing drugs boost performance? Some athletes may appear to achieve physical gains from such drugs, but at what cost?
The long-term effects of performance-enhancing drugs haven’t been rigorously studied. And short-term benefits are tempered by many risks. Not to mention that doping is prohibited by most sports organizations.

No matter how you look at it, using performance-enhancing drugs is a risky business.

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