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Anabolic Steroids Effect on the Body

The drive to win among athletes is pushing them to take risks to their health by using anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs (Kowalski, 2003, 6-11). Motivation ranges from college scholarships to high-paying spots on professional teams to Olympic gold medals. No level of sports is immune to this problem. The taking of performance enhancing drugs, or doping, as it is referred to, is banned by most sports regulatory bodies, yet it is rampant. Three athletes lost their gold medals at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City when they tested positive for drugs. Athletes are willing to take the risk of being caught, even though it may mean they are barred from competition for life, just to edge out the competition.

The Centers for Disease Control note that roughly five percent of high school athletes take performance-enhancing drugs; the National Collegiate Athletic Association says nearly 60 percent of athletes take supplements which may contain banned substances (Kowalski, 2003, 7). Athletes use the drugs for several reasons, but mainly to build body mass and strengthen muscles, and to increase endurance.

Anabolic steroids are chemicals similar to sex hormones which are derived from cholesterol, e.g. testosterone in the male, and estrogen and progesterone in the female (Freudenrich, 2004; Kowalski, 2003, 7). They help the body build muscle and bone mass by stimulating the formation of new proteins used in muscle and bone formation. They help the athlete train longer and harder, and increase muscle strength. Other synthetic anabolic steroids mimic this action, and these substances are turned into hormones in the body to produce their desired effects. Anabolic steroids have dramatic and visible effects, but carry serious risks. There are immediate risks in terms of psychiatric effects such as mood swings, personality changes, and violent outbursts. People with no criminal history have been known ...

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