Anabolic Steroids are man-made or synthetic substances that are used to stimulate male sex hormones like testosterone. These are also known as Anabolic Androgenic Steroids or (AAS). Where anabolic means tissue or muscle building and androgen means an increase in male sexual characteristics.
Anabolic steroids are consumed by bodybuilders and athletes to boost up their energy levels or increase in body/muscle mass. They are also used by some people whose bodies do not produce a sufficient amount of testosterone which is necessary for a body.
What Functions Do Anabolic Steroids Perform?
Usually, it is used by athletes and bodybuilders for the following purposes:
- Increase in body mass/weight
- Muscles get bigger
- Facial hair growth
- Voice deepening
- The body gets stronger and faster
For Medical purposes:
- Women use to control breast cancer
- For the treatment of Osteoporosis
- Weight loss in HIV
- Puberty delay in young boys
How Do Anabolic Steroids Work?
Anabolic steroids play a role of anabolism in your body, that’s why they are called anabolic steroids. Anabolism means building up of small molecules together into a bigger compound.
The compounds of anabolic steroids are broken down into small simpler molecules that go into your cells. These molecules bind together with androgen receptors. Androgen receptors are formed for accepting testosterone that runs in your body. These anabolic steroids act like natural testosterone in the body. So, they are easily accepted by androgen receptors.
When these androgen receptors are activated, they start performing their functions. They start synthesizing more protein in your body. The increased rate of protein synthesis results in the building of new tissues and muscles. In this manner, your muscles get bigger very fast. These muscles get stronger and grow faster than normal persons.
Side Effects of Anabolic Steroids:
The side effects of Anabolic steroids are long-term or lifetime. They can be normal if you stop using them but cannot reach to its normal condition ever. And some of them are persistent and can never change throughout life.
- Skin gets oily
- Increased rate of blood pressure
- Testicles shrinkage
- Kidney and liver diseases
- Menstrual abnormalities in women
- Heart diseases, heart stroke
- Voice deepening in women
- Excessive growth of facial or body hair
Impacts of Anabolic Steroids on Your Heart and Blood Cells?
Anabolic steroids have a long list of side effects on a human body. It has more side effects than its uses. These anabolic steroids have a huge impact on your heart and blood cells too.
Anabolic Steroids Effect on Heart:
Lipid Profile – Heart diseases or cardiovascular diseases is one of the main diseases that are caused by the consumption of anabolic steroids. These steroids result in decreasing the level of HDL (good cholesterol) and increase the rate of LDL (bad cholesterol) in the body. The changes in lipid profiles cause the hardening or thickening of arteries. The thick arteries cause heart stroke or heart attack, angina and can cause sudden death by heart failure.
CPR – Use of anabolic steroids also causes an increase in CPR (C-reactive protein) in the body. Due to the increased rate of CPR, various cardiovascular diseases are caused.
Left Ventricular Hypertrophy – The constant use of anabolic steroids can cause left ventricular hypertrophy. It enlarges and thickens the walls of the heart. It decreases the pumping of the heart as the heart becomes non-elastic and requires too much force to pump. The heart becomes bigger and inelastic and can cause heart failure.
High Blood Pressure – Anabolic steroids can cause high blood pressure which can cause various cardiovascular diseases.
Blood Clots – Blood clots are formed which increases the risk of heart strokes or heart attacks. It thickens the blood that leads to failure of the heart.
Anabolic Steroids Effect on Blood Cells:
The use of anabolic steroids can cause an increase in red blood cells. The increased rate of blood cells can cause the following diseases:
Heart Failure – The high rate of production of blood cells in the body causes the failure of the heart.
Polycythemia Vera – The increased level of red blood cells can cause Polycythemia Vera (PV). It is a disease in which the bone marrow produces too much red blood cells. It thickens the blood which decreases its flow and leads to the heart stroke.
Congenital Heart Defect – People who use anabolic steroids regularly, there is a probability that their babies are born with various diseases by birth. One of the diseases is congenital heart diseases. Most of the babies are born with it which causes defects in the heart valves and blood vessels.
Hypoxia – It is the disease when there is a low level of oxygen in the blood. The blood is not able to carry enough oxygen to transport it to different organs of the body.
Lung Diseases – The high rate of red blood cells can cause various lung diseases like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). COPD is caused due to the production of a high rate of red blood cells which make the blood thicker and it becomes difficult to pump. Pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema are also caused due to the increase in red blood cells.
Kidney Tumors – Kidney tumors can also be caused due to the increased production of red blood cells.
Not only the use of anabolic steroids can cause high production of red blood cells in the body. But if you smoke too many cigarettes or if you live at a high altitude, it can also cause in the increased rate of red blood cells.
Do People Get Addictive to Anabolic Steroids?
Anabolic steroids work as a drug. People get so much addicted to it. When people use anabolic steroids on a regular basis, their mental and physical body requires it every day. They get so used to it that leaving these drugs can cause:
- Loss of appetite
- Sleeping disorders
- Craving for steroids
When people are off of this drug-taking activity, they go through these adverse effects. There are a lot of medical treatments for the control of this addiction. It is very difficult for a person to leave any kind of addictive drug.
The long-term side effects can be controlled to some extent but some of them are persistent and cannot be changed throughout their lives. For example, a heart is increased in size due to the use of anabolic steroids. But when people stop using it, the heart decreases to some extent but it does not come to its normal size ever.
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Anabolic steroids are the drugs which not only give good looks to your physique, but it destroys your body internally. They have a very bad impact on your health. The risk of heart diseases and blood cells are increasing day by day due to the popularity of anabolic steroids among athletes and bodybuilders. Once you get addicted to it, it is very difficult to stop using it.
If you overuse these drugs it can lead to faster aging. It is also getting popularity among teens because of the delay in puberty. But it causes other diseases in adolescents, like weight loss, enlargement of breasts and muscles in young boys, excessive growth of body hair and, deepening of voice in females.
The constant use of anabolic drugs causes cardiovascular diseases in young people. It causes an increased level of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the protein which is present in the red blood cells which are responsible to carry oxygen to different parts of the body. Anabolic steroids can also cause hematocrit; it is the increase in the number of red blood cells in the blood.
If the use of anabolic steroids is long-term, it thickens the blood which causes various heart diseases. The heart disease is caused due to: enlargement of the heart, inelasticity of heart, ventricular hypertrophy, increase in bad cholesterol (LDL), and the production of blood clots. The use of anabolic steroids can also cause back and shoulder pain due to the defects in the heart. It can also result in breathing problems.
Medical research shows that a healthy person’s heart (left ventricle) pumps out about 55-70% of the blood. But according to research, 12 persons were steroid users and 83% of them showed pumping of blood less than 55%.
Another research was conducted between the weight lifters. 12 weight lifters of an age of about 40 years were using anabolic steroids for 9 years. Another group of 7 men of same age group was non-users of anabolic steroids. Men of both groups had similar weight and physical activities, for a very long time. Even they had similar risk factors of the heart. But, there was a big difference between the body masses and muscles which were greater in steroid users than the non-users.
There are uncountable and unexplainable defects that these harmful drugs can cause in a human body. It is highly recommended by scientists, doctors, and researches to kindly stop using these anabolic steroids because they are injurious to health.
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