Steroids – a touché word or substance for the layman, is presumed to be used only by body builders, sportspersons (in controversies specially) or for treating major illnesses. But the truth is far from it. Steroids are chemicals or hormones that our body makes naturally. They are one of the reason why our organs, tissues and cells do their job properly. They help in our growth and also one of the many reasons for us to be able to reproduce. Similar to many naturally available hormones or resources, steroids can also be made artificially.
Know the basics
Initially, Dr. Ruzicka discovered the use of steroids for treating ailments such as cancer, which later gave way to being used by athletes for improving the performance levels. There are two main types of steroids – the ‘Corticosteroids’ and the ‘Anabolic – Androgenic’ (Commonly known as ‘Anabolic’) steroids.
Corticosteroids are used to quickly dampen overactive immune responses and fight inflammation in the body. They are made to mimic the task of the systemic corticosteroids (produced in the body by the adrenal glands). Whereas, Anabolic steroids like Turkish NAPS 50 steroid are used to treat delayed puberty, muscle wasting seen in AIDS or any condition where the body makes very low amount of testosterone.
The benefits of steroids sometimes outweigh the side effects they cause. When used to treat asthma, arthritis, multiple sclerosis or even the muscle wasting, steroids help a lot more when used under the supervision of a doctor. The doctor prescribes the dosage based on the patient’s health and how much the body can tolerate before it breaks of overuse. Steroids are prescription drugs and not over the counter so it’s difficult to get dosages more than the ones prescribed.
As the saying goes ‘Too much of anything is good for nothing’, any form of steroids taken in excess or improperly has their side effects.
When Corticosteroids are used for short term, they may cause an increase in appetite which results in weight gain, they also cause puffy face, mood swings, acne, nausea, trouble sleeping and unusual hair growth. As corticosteroids weaken the immune system there are chances of genital or mouth yeast and urinary tract infections too. These also play with the blood sugars and blood pressure levels. The long term high dose uses of these drugs can cause brittle bones that lead to osteoporosis, in case of teens or children the rate of growth slows down and in general it leads to muscle weakness, eye sight problems and a higher risk of diabetes. Some of these side effects can be prevented by taking precautions such as reduced calorie intake to prevent weight gain, taking calcium and vitamin D supplements to reduce bone thinning etc.
Side effects are more prominent in people who do not go by the prescribed doses. When in line with the treatment plan the minor effects are negligible and are temporary.
Anabolic steroids are misused more often so as to gain muscle bulking and cutting faster than in the prescribed time frame. Some even take 100 times the dosage that is legally prescribed for health problems. Some of the effects can be temporary or permanent.