Teenagers, whose bodies are still developing, are at heightened risk. An alarming number of them are trying steroids in hopes of improving their athletic prowess or their appearance. A: They are drugs that mimic the actions of the male sex hormone testosterone. This includes promoting the growth of cells, especially in muscle, and maintaining or increasing male physical characteristics. Various studies have been conducted and generally reflect the findings of a Youth Risk and Behavior Surveillance System study, which estimated that among U.
A: They are known to have a range of serious adverse effects on many organ systems, and in many cases the damage is not reversible. They include fertility problems, impotence, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and heart and liver abnormalities.
Boys may experience shrinkage of the testes or the development of breast tissue; girls may experience menstrual irregularities and development of masculine qualities such as facial and body hair. Both may experience acne. Both boys and girls may also experience mood swings and aggressive behavior, which can impact the lives not only of those taking steroids, but of everyone around them.
Drug Enforcement Administration with strict regulations, meaning that not only is a prescription required, but there are extra controls. For example, it is illegal to possess them without a prescription in the United States, and in most circumstances the prescription must be in written form and cannot be called in to a pharmacist. Labels on some steroids recommend testing of hormone levels during use. The number of FDA-approved uses is limited.
Most are prescribed as a replacement for sub-normal levels of steroids. They are also prescribed for conditions such as muscle wasting, poor wound healing, and very specific pulmonary or bone marrow disorders. A health care professional can prescribe steroids off-label, meaning for conditions other than those that are FDA-approved.
But children, particularly teens, are getting access to steroids and taking them for reasons far outside of their intended use. Despite their well-publicized history, few know about the dangers of steroids. Anabolic-androgenic steroids AAS are synthetically produced variants of the naturally occurring male sex hormone testosterone.
Steroids were produced for legitimate medical purposes but are commonly used by athletes and body builders to gain mass and enhance performance. Scientists developed these drugs to treat conditions such as hormone deficiency, delayed puberty, cancer and AIDS. Due to the harmful and potentially fatal side effects, steroids are a controlled substance and illegal without a prescription. Possession of steroids without a prescription can result in jail time and pricey fines.
Fueled by money and desire to excel, steroids dominated the world of sports. Abuse began shortly after creation of and the discovery of performance enhancement effects. Confirmed steroid abuse began in the s during the World Weightlifting Championships where Soviet team doctors gave their athletes testosterone injections.
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