The word steroid may scare you because of one reason or another. Steroids in general means a lot of things to people based on what they’ve heard, their job or their lifestyle. In the public eye the word steroid has a bad rap for some reasons but many people still can’t explain why. What comes to your mind when you hear the word steroid? Do you know that steroids can be very useful when used appropriately? What do I mean by using steroid appropriately? Let me explain myself; Steroids are really chemicals, often hormones made naturally by the human body and they work to help the organs, cells and tissues function properly. There are available synthetic steroids which are commercially made unlike the natural ones produced by human body.
Steroids are generally classified into two types; you may have heard about corticosteroids and the anabolic-androgenic steroids. These are the two types known and I will explain the difference between them.
Corticosteroids are referred to as the “medicine” that fight inflammation in your body. They’re like your defense and fighter against any inflammation that attacks your body to make you sick. These corticosteroids are made in the labs but they do a wonderful job like the hormone cortisol. They basically stop the immune system process that trigger inflammation that causes human sickness. In medicine they can be used in treating asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lupus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, eczema and other rash or skin diseases. Unfortunately, there are bad side effects that come from the use of corticosteroids. These side effects vary and depends on the dose used and how long a person was on it. Some of these undesirable side-effects are excess weight gain, puffy face, nausea, mood swings, insomnia, acne, thinning of skin, unusual hair growth, increased blood sugar. One of the serious side effects that deserves special mention is that corticosteroids will turn down your natural immune system if used for a long time. This will make you susceptible to infection because your natural immune system is weak to fight off and defend you against infections. If you’re on corticosteroid longer than three (3) months they will cause your bones to become brittle and susceptible to breakage, this problem is referred to as Osteoporosis. When steroids are used in children for too long it slows their growth and brings the risk of stimulating diabetes. After reading all these it’s scary to mess around with steroids without proper medical supervision.
Anabolic steroids are the man-made version of testosterone which is a male sex hormone that acts to help in building bigger muscles. Basically, anabolic steroids have performance and muscle-boosting powers that is why people misuse and abuse them. Unfortunately, the abusers are so ignorant of what they’re doing to their health because they take one hundred times (100X) the usual dose prescribed for medical problem. Their ignorance shows because they think more is better for them without any consideration to the adverse effects to their own health. Let’s consider some of the side effects of anabolic steroids: There are fluid retention, acne, blocks the body from making natural testosterone leading to smaller testicles with lower sperm count, infertility and breast growth. In women they cause irregular “periods” that changes and stops at random, development of male-pattern baldness, facial hair and deep voice. The consumption of very high dose will lead to mood swings, anger and aggressive behavior sometimes called “roid rage”. There is the possibility of liver, kidney and heart damage, increased low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol which leads to massive heart attack. This can happen to anybody at any age so don’t abuse steroids, just think and be kind to your own health. Your life is very precious and worth everything to you and your family and friends to be wasting in the pursue of vanity and temporary satisfaction.
If you’re getting this information for the first time and you happen to be on steroids already there is an important warning for you now. Listen, don’t stop the steroid abruptly. Doing that will cause a major health problem for you. You will “crash” into restlessness, fatigue, mood swings, depression and other adverse effects. The way to stop the use of steroids is by tapering the dose down slowly over several days. You need to contact your Physician and Pharmacist who are knowledgeable about the appropriate way to taper and stop the use of steroids.
I hope the information in this article has helped educate you about the dangers of indiscriminate use of steroids. It is a very powerful anti-inflammatory agent that should only be prescribed for a legitimate medical use and only under the supervision of a trained medical professional.
Goldberg, linn, MD., Hannah-Shmouni, Fady. Aug. 2018, Types of Steroids.
Fish, Lisa., Goldberg, Linn., Spratt, Daniel., 2004, Anabolic Steroids and Young men, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
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