Anabolic Steroids have immense clinical uses and are prescribed by doctors for overtly inflammatory conditions. They are used by patients of severe asthma, as well as allergic candidates. Use of these drugs by athletes to increase their performance and the subsequent side-effects produced by them has eventually led to their classification amongst the controlled substances of today.
Long before they were made illegal, androgen steroids were taken under the notice by government. Prescription of these agents to kids below eighteen years of age was prohibited unless a parent or guardian signed an approval. Doctors too avoided administering AAS to minors because of the likely detrimental influences on sexual maturity. If there was no other option and if the potential benefits of use ruled out the likely ill effects, doctor could prescribe the drug. First steroid to be developed was the analogue of male sex hormone; testosterone. In fact, all the steroids marketed have some degree of androgenic activity which potentiates the aggressive profile elicited by them. First reported use was in 1889 by a 72 years old Charles Édouard Brown-Séquard.
He was a physiology professor and claimed to have increased his strength by giving his body shots of pig and dog’s testicles. This announcement fueled the medical advances in the field and several practitioners begin to devise purer forms of steroids, with the formulation of testosterone in 1935. Second citing was during World War II by Germans who tried to develop anabolic steroids in the hopes to increase aggressive attitude of their soldiers. While this might seem pretty humane, they also showed a miraculous goodwill by administering steroids to the prisoners to prevent muscle wasting. It has been reported that the ruthless Adolf Hitler regularly injected himself with testosterone, possibly to increase his frustration outburst on the poor Jews. His scientists used Jews as laboratory animals, testing new steroid formulas on them in an attempt to devise something more acceptable.
Use of AAS hit the sports industry in early 1950s when Soviet bodybuilders were envied for their remarkable strength. The secret of their immense muscle bulk reached American ears in 1954 and provided similar benefits. By the year 1960 several medical studies were being conducted to confirm the potency of steroids on human muscle mass, and their associated usefulness. Though early researches confirmed the benefits, later studies somehow ended up contradicting them. Still it has been shown repeatedly that steroids enhance muscular system of the body, giving IOC an excuse to slip it among the list of offending agents in 1975. Any athlete, therefore, to be detected with steroid residue in urine was to be punished. Extreme steps were taken in 1988 when Ben Johnson yielded positive AAS urine samples after winning 100 meter race in Olympic Games. The medal was taken back and he was disqualified. The athlete continued the practice in subsequent Olympics, in the year 1993, getting himself a life-time ban from participating. IOC acted as an inspiration for both NCAA and NFL who devised a proper testing system in 1986 and adhere to it till this day. All the positive results are subjected to a series of scientific evaluation after which the offenders are punished according to the manifesto of the authorities.
After being listed among banned substances, possession of steroids and their manufacture lead to penalties as well. It might be interesting to note that federal law doesn’t handle the steroid abuse cases; they mostly go to the state courts. According to Ohio and Texas laws, it is forbidden for a registered medical practitioner to prescribe steroids to a person unless the reason is mandatory. Further, it has been written that the use of steroids for their muscle-building property is a grievous offence that is punished under all circumstances. Use of anabolic steroids is banned by law and is being advocated to this day by various mercenaries of human health. The intense opposition to these chemicals is due to multitudinous harmful effects they have on the body.
Why are steroids evil?
Steroids are severely hepatotoxic. This is especially true for alkylated agents that mess up the liver machinery completely. Before you know you are exhibiting symptoms of nausea, vomiting and weight loss. In addition, eventually the liver impairment proceeds to the point where it is unable to conjugate the bilirubin and excrete it in bile; it diffuses into the blood and shows on skin and sclera as yellowish discoloration. The steroids most notorious for causing liver damage include methandrostenolone, methenolone acetate and testosterone cypionate. The harmful effects continue to prevail in the society because of the easy availability of the drugs in the black markets all over the globe.
Moreover, alkylated products also exhibit the phenomenon of ‘roid rage’. It should be noted that liver toxicity and aggressiveness are only witness when alkylation is done at alpha carbon; beta carbon esters are pretty benign. The tendency to yield to an aggressive attitude definitely depends upon congenital predisposition, hormonal status of the person and also on the type of steroid being administered. Another interesting theory of psychology states that anger is also exaggerated when the person anticipates aggression after receiving a steroid shot.
Risk of cardiovascular diseases is tremendously increased. Circulating levels of LDL increase while those of HDL decrease. This imbalance is directly related to the ability of atheromatous plaques to form in the blood vessels. These plaques occupy most of the lumen and lead to partial or complete obstruction; sufficient blood does not reach the target site and tissues undergo hypoxic damage. A significant outcome arises when heart is affected; due to insufficient oxygen supply to its myocardium, ischemic damage worsens and is swiftly followed by necrosis (Myocardial Infarction). Moreover, atherosclerosis also hardens the vessels and makes them less resilient. The walls are weak and are unable to withstand increases in pressure. Eventually, even the slightest elevation will lead to bursting of the wall and release of blood into surroundings; this is the mechanism seen in the patients of cerebral stroke.