As soon as human civilization got ahold of the power of technology, we had never put it back down even for a single minute. With smart technologies and great scientists, comes the outpour of discoveries and inventions to aid life enhancement. And we have been seeing a lot of these enhancements throughout the ages, especially in the biomedical field (read more).
Medical technology has greatly contributed to ameliorating people’s lives. Primarily, they are used for restorative and therapeutic purposes as well as act as a medical intervention. There are cochlear implants to improve hearing, artificial retinas to give partial sight, and bionic limbs for mobility. As progress was made, its focus shifted from therapeutic to a non-medical perspective.
Today, countless biomedical technologies exist to cater to human’s need for perfection. We have brain-boosting drugs, genetic engineering, and of course, beauty and image-enhancing procedures. Previously shunned by many, image enhancement is now widely embraced by society. It became a tool for one’s self-empowerment and positivity.
With talks of appearance enhancement, it is impossible not to touch the controversial topic of the famous anabolic steroids. Also known as appearance and performance-enhancing drugs or APEDs, steroids have been around since the 1960s. It has also been a subject of many sports controversies and issues even today.
What Are Anabolic Steroids?
Anabolic steroids are man-made derivatives of the hormone testosterone. It mimics both the androgenic and anabolic effects of testosterone on the body. Due to its potential for abuse, it is only sold upon the presentation of a prescription. You can also purchase it on websites offering Anabolic Steroid Drugs discount code to save on your spending.
Steroids are predominantly used by athletes and bodybuilders to increase their muscle mass, improve strength and performance. While clinically, they are often used to treat several chronic conditions such as systemic lupus erythematosus, cachexia, and muscle wasting syndrome.
What Are Its Effects?
The human body normally produces the hormone testosterone. Both sexes have it as a naturally-occurring hormone, but girls only produce it at small amounts.
As the most powerful androgen, testosterone exert their effects on several parts of the body such as muscle, bone, liver, kidney, reproductive tissues, and central nervous system. During male puberty, testosterone production is at its highest, causing the development of secondary male sexual characteristics which is divided into two:
- Androgenic effects – voice maturation, growth of terminal hairs, enlargement of the larynx, increased acne, libido, and aggression.
- Anabolic effects – stimulation of skeletal muscle and bone growth.
As its derivative, anabolic has the same effects on the body as testosterone. According to this study (https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/0bc1/fc3860260aed749952d7d0692f5d1dd79d42.pdf), they also have the same mechanism of action to the body, which is to bind at their designated receptor and exert their specific effects on target tissues.
How is it used?
Anabolic steroids are classified as a Schedule III controlled substance, which means that it is illegal to use it recreationally, without proper prescription. However, people still found ways to obtain and subject it to abuse in the hopes of gaining a competitive advantage in sports and bodybuilding competitions. Abusers use anabolic in several different ways such as stacking, cycling, and pyramids.
- Stacking – simultaneously using two or three different kinds of anabolic steroids.
- Cycling – alternating periods of high and low doses.
- Pyramid – starting at the baseline dose then slowly increasing the dose and frequency.
Users believe that these mechanisms help in potentiating the effects of the drug on the body. They also believe that doing such mechanisms allow their bodies to adapt and recuperate from the drug’s strong effect. Anabolic steroids are clinically and recreationally available as tablets, supplements, patches, implants, intramuscular and subcutaneous injections.
Dangers Of Anabolic Steroids
Many studies document the success of steroids as a therapeutic drug for several health conditions (click here to know more). But many of them recommend it only as an alternative treatment that cannot be used for long periods due to its adverse effects. Short-term usage of the drug accounts for several physical changes which can be reversed upon steroid discontinuation. But the same cannot be said to its long-term side effects.
Long-term steroid use is a cause for concern due to its permanent physical and psychological effects on the body. If abused, males will experience testicular atrophy, decrease sexual drive and sperm production, sterility, prostate and breast enlargement. While females, on the other hand, may suffer from infertility, menstrual irregularities, and masculinizing effects.
Both genders are prone to develop serious health conditions such as:
- Liver and kidney disorders
- Cardiovascular disorders
- Reproductive disorders
- Blood borne diseases such as HIV due to sharing of needles
Steroid abuse induces permanent psychological disturbances such as hostility, violence, and aggression. Paranoia, delusions, and feelings of invincibility are also adverse mental effects of the drug.
Medical Use Of Anabolic Steroids
Muscle wasting is a common symptom of several chronic illnesses such as AIDS, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cachexia, and even paralysis. It is characterized by muscle atrophy and sudden weight loss, causing patients to be more susceptible to opportunistic infections.
The usual solution for muscle wasting syndrome is to cure its underlying cause. Unfortunately, many of these diseases are still without a cure. This means that prescribed medications only ease the symptoms and delay the progress of the disease.
After several clinical trials, doctors started to prescribe the use of anabolic steroids to address muscle wasting. After monitored administration, the drug produced positive impacts on patients by stimulating skeletal muscle growth and strength. It also promoted weight gain and improved cognitive function.
As steroids undergo medical scrutiny, scientists have found safer and more accurate alternative treatments similar to the drug. Such medicine includes non-steroidal SARMs, creatine, and 4-DHEA.