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

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

  • Noida Police seizes fake drugs and supplements worth Rs 2 crore, anabolic steroids have often been in news, although not for the right reasons.

About Anabolic Steroids

Anabolic steroids are lab-made versions of the male hormone testosterone with a similar effect of increasing muscle mass.

  • It also increases male characteristics in a person, such as facial hair and a deeper voice.
  • Very different from the steroids prescribed by doctors for inflammations, several autoimmune diseases, or to suppress the body’s immune system during a Covid-19 infection.
  • These medicines are called corticosteroids and are lab-made molecules that mimic the action of the hormone called cortisol.
  • It controls the body’s stress response, metabolism, and inflammation.
  • Anabolic steroids have limited medical use.
  • Anabolic steroids are mainly misused by athletes and sportspersons nowadays.

What are they prescribed for?

The anabolic steroids have a very limited medical role and are mainly used by doctors to help patients gain weight after a severe illness or injury.

  • It could also be prescribed in small doses to the elderly to build muscle mass and in some cases also helps to treat anemia.
  • Some doctors use it for the treatment of osteoarthritis. (a condition where bones wear down over time)

How is it misused?

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

  • A 2019 study from Bhubaneshwar of anabolic steroid users showed that only one of the 74 participants was a professional bodybuilder, with 18.9 percent being students.
  • It indicates that it is used by people other than professional athletes.

Health Implications

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  • Use of anabolic steroids in the short-term can cause acne and hairfall.
  • Extended misuse of the substance can also lead to gynaecomastia (growth of breasts in men) and erectile dysfunction.
  • In women, it can lead to growth of facial hair.
  • It may also cause extreme anger, paranoia, and impaired judgment.
  • Long-term use can lead to kidney disease and even failure, liver damage and tumors, enlarged heart, and high blood pressure.
  • It can also lead to stunted growth in teenagers.

Exam Track

Prelims Takeaway

  • Anabolic Steroids
  • Misuse and Health implications of Steroid