Pushing the limits: the hazards of taking steroids

How much of a price are people willing to pay for muscle building before they take it too far? The superficial muscle building one gets from illegal steroid use may mean both dangerous short-term and long term effects from the very first use, whether taken orally or injected.
 
Steroids are perfectly legal when prescribed by a medical professional; they are prescribed for impotence, low testosterone and to patients with AIDS.
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But they are used illegally by some athletes and bodybuilders as a quick fix to boost their muscle and power, and the law regards it as a serious crime. Being convicted of illegal use of steroids is a fine of $1,000 and a year in jail, while distribution of illegal steroids carries an even heftier fine of $250,000 and 5 years in jail. These are the laws for USA. In Uk, Australia, New Zealand and other countries, the fines and laws are different.

In sports, athletes are always pushed to hit harder, move faster, and be stronger, so turning to steroids seems like an easy choice to improve performance.

But illegal steroid use brings its own dangers such as death or paralysis. For those considering steroid use, the question should be: what price is someone willing to pay for that much of an enhanced physique?

 
Everything has a cost, and steroid use makes users pay with major impact on their health; for men, it includes shrinking of the testicles, low sperm count, the loss of hair, the growing of breasts, and the inability to father children. Women pay a high price too, because their steroid use can cause a deeper Steroid Usage - oral or voice, facial hair, and changes in or complete stopping of menstrual cycles. In short, steroids can leave users with jaundice, liver tumors, high blood pressure, and fluid retention.

Physical effects are only part of the story, though. Steroids cause a wide variety of mental side effects that can be devastating, including depression, mood swings, dizziness, paranoia, rage, and insomnia. Combined, all the effects of steroids can lead to an over-enlarged heart, liver failure, and premature death.

 
With those in their teens, the results are even worse; all the effects listed earlier apply, with the additional problems of stunted growth and possibly prolonged puberty. While many see their bodies as a tool to score with the sex of their choosing, they have failed to realize the dangers that long-term effects may have, since they vary from person to person.

 

Steroid use: oral versus injectable

Those who consider taking steroids usually have a problem with injectable steroids because they have problems injecting themselves. The theory is that injectable steroids are safer because they do not have to be digested, but with steroids it is rarely that simple.

While proven that oral steroids are harder on the liver, the reason is that oral steroids have a shorter “half-life” (the time they stay in one’s system) than injectable steroids.

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Oral steroids only last 3-5 hours per pill, meaning they need to be taken several times a day putting a huge amount of stress on liver function. But injecting steroids has its own problems; for beginners, the possibility exists that they may miss the target area and wind up injecting the steroids into a tendon. This can lead to a blood clot—and if not caught in time, will lead to death.

Even though steroid use has been proven to enlarge one’s heart and reduce good (HDL) cholesterol while cranking up bad (LDL) cholesterol, the big draw is increasing muscle size. Many athletes who compete on a regular basis find themselves attracted to the idea of simply taking drugs to enhance performance, and wind up pumping steroids into their bodies for that perceived advantage and a better chance to win.

In 1988, Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson beat American sprinter Carl Lewis in the 100-meter dash with an amazing time of 9.79 seconds—but his urine tested positive for steroids. His record was nullified and he was stripped of his medal, his prestige, and his honor. Even without evidence yet of long-term effects, Johnson’s career has been destroyed through use of steroids.

Some weightlifters and bodybuilders go past perfection into something else entirely by using steroids; bodybuilder Gregg Valentino has become infamous for his unnaturally large 27-inch arms, and while he has become famous, some have labeled him a freak. When steroid use can cost someone 20 years or more of their life, lifting naturally is the better way to go. With dedication and proper nutrition, a lifter will not only build a healthy, natural body but feel better about themselves as well.

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Gasper Novak

I train hard (lift weights + cardio) and try to eat right!

I enjoy reading about improving my physique and write about muscle building, shredding fat and supplements that give you that little edge over your competitors.

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