The use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) is also known as doping, and there is an international organization in charge of policing this behavior called the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). WADA recognizes more than 100 drugs as banned substances and many athletes have started to experiment with their use as early as high school.
The Terrible Side Effects of Steroids
When someone hears the term “performance-enhancing drug,” steroids are often the first substance that comes to mind. Such substances are now anathema, and athletes in many professional sports still test positive for these unhealthy drugs. They are often times suspended or banned from playing the sport altogether when traces of performance enhancers are found in their system. Steroids are now illegal for professional athletes and teens should learn the truth that lies behind that. They should understand in full capacity why these harmful steroids are now banned.
For medical purposes, there are many different kinds of steroids and steroid abuse symptoms. In order to get ahead in sports, athletes take anabolic-androgenic steroids that are a synthetic version of the hormone testosterone where side effects follow. Both men and women have testosterone in their bodies, but men have more of it, which gives them larger, stronger muscles. When taken in excess, an athlete may increase their muscle mass and strength, but it also puts them at risk for all the following health problems:
- Stunted growth
- Premature balding
- Heart disease
- Liver cancer
- Uncontrollable anger called “roid rage”
- Sexual dysfunction
- Irregular menstruation
- Decreased testicle size
Lesser-Known PEDs in Sports & Their Side Effects
Although steroids are the most common drugs used by athletes to improve their performance, they are far from the only regularly used drugs for this purpose. Other drugs used for their ability to improve an athlete’s abilities in competition include:
Human Growth hormone (HGH), which is used to help the body repair faster from workouts and injuries as well as increases testosterone. A recent study found that 5 percent of high school students had abused HGH. This behavior can cause potentially deadly consequences such as:
- Joint inflammation
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Muscle dysfunction
- HIV or hep B if injected with dirty needle
Erythropoietin (EPO), which increases the number of red blood cells and amount of hemoglobin, so the athlete can work harder and longer. This causes the blood to become thicker than it should be and may lead to heart attack and stroke.
Transfusions, which have a similar effect as EPO, but it is blood either taken from the athlete, frozen, thawed a few weeks later and re-injected, or taken from a donor. This practice, commonly called “blood doping” is also to increase the amount of red blood cells in the body.
Teen Athletes Need to Avoid Steroids
In an attempt to win, many young athletes often end up losing big time. This happens when performance-enhancing drugs become a part of a teen athlete’s training regimen. Lance Armstrong’s recent public fall from grace has highlighted how winning in the moment means nothing in the long run when the victory is attained by cheating. Not only does the use of performance-enhancing drugs destroy an individual’s credibility and reputation, but it wreaks havoc on their body and overall health as well.
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