Defination of a Steroid:
Steroid is a chemical that can be produced synthetically and through natural resources. It is also naturally produced by the body ad is very crucial for the smooth development and maturation of the body. It helps the cells, tissues and organs to perform effectively. Two major types of steroids are:
- Corticosteroids or anti-inflammatory steroids.
- Androgenic or anabolic steroids.
Now both the types will be discussed separately.
Cortico-steroids are also referred as anti-inflammatory. They are produced naturally by the adrenal glands located on the top of the kidneys. Man made version of cortico-steroids is also there and it also works like cortisol. The main function is to hamper the production of inflammation triggering substances. They have inhibitory effect on the immune system and suppress the inflammation.
Therapeutic Indications of Cortico-Steroids:
All inflammatory conditions respond well to the corticosteroids. It reduces swelling, redness, itching, burning and all the sign and symptoms of inflammation. It effectively treats:
- COPD chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder.
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Lupus erythematosus
- Chronic allergies
- Multiple sclerosis
- Short term utility in case of poison ivy rash.
Availability of Cortico-Steroids:
Cortico-steroids are available in a number of different physical forms and the decision lies with the physician that which form and what dosage will be used. The forms are:
- Pills or tablets
- Capsular form
- Inhaler sprays
- Nasal sprays
- Topical ointments
- IV tube
- Single shot
Adverse Effects of Cortico-Steroids:
Effects are different depending upon the duration of intake. short time intake can cause the following adverse effects:
Short-term side effects:
- Weight gain
- Puffy face
- Mood swings
- Un-wanted hair growth
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased blood sugar levels
- Lowered immunity making infection prone.
Long-term side effects:
- Softening of bones (osteoporosis) making them fracture prone.
- Stunted growth in kids.
- Adrenal insufficiency
- Weakness of muscles
- Inability to effectively respond to stress.
- Eye infections such as cataracts
- Increasing diabetes risks
Androgenic Anabolic Steroids:
It is the man-made testosterone that helps in sexual maturation among males. Anabolic pills are used for the following reasons:
- To accelerate muscle gains and toning of muscles.
- Delayed puberty
- Testosterone replacement therapy when body does not produce enough testosterone.
- To help regain muscle mass after any debilitating illnesses such as HIV (AIDS) such as after chemotherapy sessions.
- To facilitate the process of development and maturation of trans genders.
- Helps in the treatment of breast cancer.
- To cater for muscle loss after cancer treatment.
- For losing excess fat and tone the body.
Controversial Use of Anabolic Steroids:
Performance enhancement, increase in strength and endurance and muscle gains properties of anabolic make them liable for using illegally and in excess by the athletes, bodybuilders, power lifters and physique competitors. They tend to use high doses to get a specific kind of physique which can cause extremely dangerous side effects. In most of the countries anabolic steroids have been banned and the athletes may get himself disqualified if he or she tests positive for drug involvement for muscle enhancement.
Adverse Effects of Anabolic Steroids:
- Acne outbursts
- Fluid retention
- Hair loss
- Increased breasts in males and vice versa
- Excessive body hairs
- Suppressed natural testosterone production
- Irregular menstruation
- Coarseness of voice.
- Anger (Roid rage) and mood swings
- Liver toxicity
- Kidney damage
- Heart issues such as swelling and failure due to excessive fluid retention.
- Libido changes
- Decreased sperm production
- Increased cholesterol levels (LDL levels)
- Abuse potential
- Death if used in excessive amount
How to End Steroid Usage:
Steroid pills are used in cycles either solo or in combination of other steroids. When used mainly for reducing fat it is called cutting cycle and in order to build muscle mass and increase strength and endurance, it is called bulking cycle. Abrupt cessation is a bad idea slowly tapering off is the ideal way to reduce the dose before completely stopping it. Looks for legal steroid, if necessary, they are the organic versions of anabolic that have same properties but minimum to nil adverse effects. Focus on diet and exercise, leg workout improves natural testosterone that can help in muscle gain and increased stamina and strength. Calorie deficient diet that is rich in protein and fiber is also very beneficial in attaining the respective physique goals. If one is using anabolic always consult first and chalk out a proper plan and then proceed with lowest dose and short intake.