The Effect of Steroids on the Human Body: Why They are Dangerous

The Effect of Steroids on the Human Body: Why They are Dangerous
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That one word has summed up much of the 2013 Major League Baseball season. Superstar baseball players such as Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun, along with a handful of other notable MLB names, were handed out massive suspensions recently for their part in the biogenesis affair that supplied ball players with performance enhancing drugs (aka steroids).

Steroid use is nothing new in MLB. Former sluggers such as Jose Conseco, Barry Bonds and Mark McGuire all juiced, factoring into the number of home runs they smashed throughout their careers. More recently, Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon were suspended. And today, the biogenesis steroid scandal is rocking the sports world.

While baseball isn’t the only sport to feature its share of steroid users (other sports like cycling and football have had its share of juicers too), it is the poster child game for athlete dishonesty. Aside from the obvious, however, what many people fail to realize is the adverse effects that performance enhancing drugs can actually have on the human body.

The Effect of Steroids on the Body

Before we get into the effects of steroids, its important to note what exactly they are. Specifically, steroids are pills, gels, creams or injections that artificially produce hormones to increase sports performance. The two main types of steroids are anabolic, which helps produce androgens such as testosterone, and steroidal supplements, which are essentially weaker types of anabolic steroids.

Both types of steroids can help improve strength, endurance and muscle mass, which is why so many athletes sought and continue to seek them out. But they also produce certain side effects in subjects, such as acne, balding, insomnia, mood swings, high blood pressure, aggression, jaundice, liver damage and an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, blood clots and certain types of cancer. Other risks are the shrinking of the genitalia, painful urination, impotence and infertility. What’s more is that users who inject are at risk of becoming infected with HIV, Hepatitis C or other bacterial infections from needle usage.

But there’s more than just the health risks mentioned above. Steroid users can also suffer psychologically. Delusion, paranoia, aggression and mistrust are common psychological issues. Steroids can also become addictive. In fact, prolonged steroid use can worsen both the medical and psychological effects.

As you can tell, steroids can be extremely detrimental to one’s health, which is part of the reason why MLB, and all other sports leagues, are cracking down on use and enforcing severe punishments on those that violate their respective drug testing policies. Still, the side effects - and suspension risk - are worth the chance to many aspiring athletes who want to be the very best at what they do, whether that’s by artificial enhancement or not.