Many a times we hear of someone who takes steroids to treat arthritis and some athlete denying taking steroids before an important relay, but what exactly are steroids? Steroids are synthetic drugs that resemble a naturally produced hormone called cortisol. They were developed for medical purposes and are of two varieties; anabolic steroids and corticosteroids. Anabolic steroids act like the male sex hormone. When we workout, we create tiny tears in our muscle fibres. When our muscles regrow, they grow back larger and we achieve the ideally desired muscular body. This is facilitated by the male sex hormone testosterone; and the anabolic steroid does the same thing faster and also helps better muscle re-growth by blocking cortisol hormone that helps in breaking down muscle tissues. Doctors, in case of muscle loss or to treat late puberty, prescribe anabolic steroids. They are harmful for the body and are illicitly used or abused by athletes to improve their performance and physical appearance.
Corticosteroids on the other hand are less harmful and less controversial and are used to treat various body ailments like arthritis, asthma, lupus and skin related conditions. Steroids can be taking orally in forms of pills and also via injections.
Commonly Used Anabolic Steroid Drugs & Their Side Effects
There are certain anabolic steroids used purely for performance improvement purposes while others are used for therapeutic purpose. Following is a list of commonly used anabolic steroidal drugs and their side effects.
If you are looking for a steroid that will bulk you up right before a competition, your search ends here. Anadrol is a commonly used steroid which is derived from dihydrotestosterone and the addition of a hydroxymethylene group makes it the only DHT deritive used for bulking rather than cutting. Anadrol is the most commonly recommended steroid for muscle wasting illnesses like AIDS, thanks to its fast working ability. One will be able to gain a lot of muscle in a short time with this steroid and the energy will go a long way in ensuring that patients have a better quality life.
Side Effects of Anadrol. Anadrol stimulates estrogen receptors and hence its consumers will face the side effects related to excessive presence of estrogen in the body, such as water retention in the muscles. Prolonged use of anadrol increases blood pressure and leads to gynecomastia.
This is another one of commonly used steroid, which was originally intended to treat asthma and other breathing problems, but now is popularly used as an aid to fat loss, and is also used by competitive body builders and non-competitive steroid users alike. However, clenbutoral hydrochloride, as it is officially called, is not a magical substance and is less effective on those who are obese and significantly overweight. This steroid can be used only for a specific amount of time due to the body’s ability to adapt, and you will still have to maintain a healthy diet and work out regime. The clenbutoral steroid enhances fat loss by speeding up metabolism so that energy is burned.
Side Effects of Clenbuterol. Clenbuterol is a stimulant and its consumers deal with stimulant induced effects such as shaky hands and profuse sweating. Fortunately, these effects are reduced once the body adapts to the drug. Headaches, nausea and inability to sleep are less known side effects of this steroid and some people experience muscular cramps due to the compounded ability to deplete urine. Side effects related to the abuse of this steroid include panic attacks, rapid heartbeat, trembling and high blood pressure. Clenbuterol abuse may also lead to cardiac hypertrophy, which can be fatal.
This is one of the most powerful yet highly toxic anabolic steroid in the market and commonly used by competitive body builders and athletes.
Users can use it for a short period only. Halo, as this steroid is commonly known, is a derivative of testosterone, comprised of the active steroidal hormone fluoxymesterone. What truly separates Halo from the rest of the pack of steroids, is that it does not aromatise at all and its ability to increase hemoglobin. Those who use Halo can expect less when it comes to mass building, but experience almost super human level of strength.
Side Effects of Halotestin. Its ability to drastically increase strength does not overpower the possible health dangers it entails. Halo steroid is highly toxic for the liver and though the liver has remarkable rejuvenating capabilities, its use must be limited and constantly supervised. It is necessary to avoid alcohol consumption and other medications if you decide to supplement with Halo.
This steroid is commonly used to prevent breast tumour in women and gynecomastia in men. Nolvadex helps reduce cholesterol levels and bad fat in the body and increases the good fat levels.
Side Effects of Nolvadex. Prolonged use of this steroid may negatively affect the production of natural hormones in the body. Nolvadex compromises the growth of IGF that is Insulin Growth Factor, which means reduced muscle growth in the long run. Nolvadex also causes problems in vision and liver condition.
In the world of competitive bodybuilding, Trenbolone is considered the king steroid and essential during competition preparation. Trenbolone is a highly versatile hormone used in off-season bulking and cutting. Trenbolone is a highly effective anabolic steroid, which dramatically increases lean muscle tissue growth. Trenbolone improves the performer’s rate of recovery and muscular endurance. This steroid is well known for increasing strength and is the best choice for seasoned athletes.
Side Effects of Trenbolone. Trenbolone reportedly decreases cardiovascular endurance. Trenbolone is a progestin and can lead to gynecomastia in sensitive individuals. The androgenic nature of Trenbolone may lead to acne in sensitive individuals and accelerated hair loss among men predisposed to pattern baldness and body hair growth.
Trenbolone also causes virilisation effects in women, such as body hair growth, deepening of vocal chords and clitoris enlargement. This steroid also causes cardiovascular problems such as high blood pressure among men as its side effects. Trenbolone affects both the bad and good cholesterol and those suffering from high cholesterol levels must stay away from this steroid. Trenbolone will suppress natural testosterone production, and in this case, it will be extreme. Trenbolone is also well noted for causing anxiety, insomnia, night sweats and rapid heart rate. In case of these side effects from this steroid, consider lowering the dose and discontinue the course if these problems persist.
Commonly Used Corticosteroids & Their Side Effects
Systemic corticosteroids refer either to corticosteroids that are given orally or by injection. The classification of Corticosteroids include.
Glucocorticoids. They belong to the class of antiinflammatories. They calm down inflammation and decrease immunity. They also aid in breakdown of proteins fats, and carbohydrates. Some of the examples are hydrocortisone with Cortef as the brand name, cortisone, ethamethasoneb with Celestone as the brand name, prednisone with Prednisone or Intensol as the brand name, and prednisolone with Orapred or Prelone as the brand name.
Mineralocorticoids (salt retaining) that regulate the balance of salt and water in the body; for example, fludrocortisone (Florinef).
Synthetic corticosteroids exact naturally produced corticosteroids in the body and are used to replace corticosteroids in people with adrenal glands that are unable to produce adequate amounts of corticosteroids. Examples of synthetic corticosteroids include betamethasone, (Celestone) prednisone (Prednisone Intensol) and prednisolone (Orapred, Prelone).
The Uses of Systematic Corticosteroids
Systematic Corticosteroids are used mostly for their strong anti-inflammatory effects and in matters related to the immune system such as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, skin rashes and allergies such as eye and nose allergies.
Glucocorticoids are used to treat systemic lupus, leukaemia, hemolytic anemia and also to suppress the immune system to prevent rejection in people who have undergone organ transplant. Fludrocortisone (Florinef), adrenal mineralocorticoid is used to treat Addison’s disease and also conditions such as low blood pressure.
Corticosteroids & Their Side Effects
Corticosteroids can cause various mild to severe side effects, which are more apparent when used in high doses for prolonged periods.
Corticosteroids cause water and sodium retention in the body leading to swelling of the legs and weight gain as their side effect. Corticosteroids cause high blood pressure, headaches, and puffiness of the face, facial hair growth, thinning and bruising of skin, slow wound healing and glaucoma. Prolonged use of corticosteroids leads to obesity and psychological retardation, such as mood swings, depression, anxiety and insomnia among children and adults. Corticosteroids suppress the immune system, and thus reduce the effectiveness of vaccines and medicines to fight dangerous and often-fatal diseases. Osteoporosis is a long-term side effect of corticosteroids and results in weak bones and fractures. Hip and join pain is a common side effect of corticosteroids and medical treatment is necessary.
Oral corticosteroids cause fluid retention in the body, glaucoma, mood swings and weight gain/water retention in the abdomen and legs, thinning and bruising of skin, high blood pressure and can trigger diabetes as their side effect.
The side effect of inhaled corticosteroids consists of fungal infection in the mouth, hoarseness and slow growth rate among children who use it for asthma.
With this read, we can safely conclude that though steroidal drugs have many uses and benefits, they also have plenty of side effects, which can easily outnumber the benefits of steroids. With that said, it is highly recommended that steroids be used with caution and only under medical supervision.