What are steroids?
Steroids or hormones are chemicals that our body naturally produces. They often help our organism and cells. But the word “steroid” sometimes has a different meaning. It can also refer to man-maid medicines such as corticosteroids and anabolic-androgenic steroids.
Corticosteroids are medications that are prescribed to quickly fight inflammation. It is a lab made steroid and works as the hormone cortisol that our body produces, tries to stop our immune system from making substances that trigger inflammation. It can help treat conditions like arthritis, asthma, lupus, allergic reactions, skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis etc. As for side effects they depend on how long you take the drug. For short-term users, it can cause acne, weight gain, nausea, unusual hair growth and high blood pressure and sugar levels. For long-term uses it causes osteoporosis and a condition called adrenal insufficiency, where the body does not respond to stress such as surgerys or different illnesses.
Anabolic-androgenic steroids are lab made versions of the male sex hormone called testosterone. These are drugs that resemble natural hormones and are used to build muscle mass. Doctors often prescribe it to treat hormonal issues like delayed puberty and also treat caused muscle loss from diseases like HIV AIDS or cancer. Other non prescribed uses are from people that want to build muscle faster and increase their athletic performance and lose more calories for an improved physical appearance. It is mostly used by male weightlifters and bodybuilders and much less from women. As for side effects we can count a lot. In women it will start turning the feminine body towards androginity (masculinity) by decreasing breast size, enlarging the clitoris, deeping the voice, changes in menstrual cycle, excess body hair and other hormonal abnormalities. In men it may cause development of breasts, decreased sperm count, hair loss and increased risk for prostate cancer. For everyone that uses these steroids no matter sex or age, it can cause addiction and liver issues if taken in large dosages.
The History of Steroids
As we all know, humans are naturally very competitive species and since sports started (from the beginning of civilization) , many athletes have tried all sorts of things to win the first place. This is when substances for increasing athletic performance started. Fun facts, did you know that ancient Greeks ate sesame seeds or that the Norse warriors ate mushrooms for similar effects? Every culture around the world has some kind of a tradition in this field.
Around the 1860s, swimmers in Amsterdam started using drugs to speed up their races but since charges were pressed, athletes kept using only stimulants for better performance.
In the 1935s testosterone stardes being made in labs and was given to soldiers to increase strength and prepare for the war.
Then the men-made testosterone began to be widely used by the 1940s. Athletes like bodybuilders and wrestlers that participated in competitive sports started taking this drug with excess without knowing the dangers and side effects.
After the 1950s, scientists tried to formulate an improved version of this synthetic steroid.
By the 1958s, anabolic steroids were developed but that’s when the side effects became obvious. But this would not stop athletes from taking it in order to remain competitive, causing addiction. Since using these drugs was against the sports organisation’s rules and against the law, after the 1975s, steroids and other drugs for performance enhancing were banned, although some athletes could find it illegally. After the 1990s, using anabolic steroids without prescription was banned and considered illegal in the U.S.
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