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  The Minority/ Black Health Blog  

Monday, August 12, 2013

Dangerous Side Effects of Steroids

Danger of Steroids
There are two types of steroids. Corticosteroids are medications prescribed by physicians to help reduce inflammation and replace hormones that the body is not producing, such as post-menopausal women needing hormone replacement therapy. Corticosteroids are often prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, COPD and other chronic conditions. These types of steroids are safe to take under a doctor's care.

What are anabolic steroids?

What is not safe to take are anabolic steroids. Anabolic steroids are synthetic steroid hormones that are intended to resemble testosterone. They are used entirely to produce muscle mass. Here is where the danger is. Natural hormones regulate most of the body's functions. As long as hormones remain in balance, the body functions normally. When anabolic steroids are taken to promote abnormal growth of muscle, the body's hormone balance becomes seriously off-balance and can produce dangerous side effects.

Why are anabolic steroids dangerous?

Anabolic steroids can cause harmful changes in cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, acne, liver damage, and changes to the structure of the left ventricle of the heart. Men who use anabolic steroids can experience decreased sperm count or impotence, painful erections and shrunken testicles. Women may see growth in their clitoris, increased body hair, deepening of the voice and reduced breast size.

Men and women who use anabolic steroids are at great risk for mood swings, baldness, enlarged heart or heart attacks, increased levels of bad cholesterol, and significant risk of liver disease and liver cancer. All these side effects are reasons why anabolic steroids are illegal. First-time possession of anabolic steroids carries a maximum federal penalty of one year in prison and a $1,000 fine. First-offense trafficking in steroids means five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Sure, these illegal steroids will help build big muscles, but the damages and risks are simply not worth it.
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