The use of steroids is headline news right now both in the United States and worldwide. Big names in professional sports have rumored, or admitted to using steroids to bulk up their bodies and improve their game. Our teenagers look up them as role models and it’s sad to see them letting our teens down. When they see their favorite athlete using steroids, they believe if it’s all right for these stars, it’s all right for them too.

Few realize what some of the terrible side effects are for those who use anabolic steroids. Some teenagers discover too late and the damage is irreparable or they are dead. Yes, it is that serious!

Anabolic steroids are a synthetic substance that promotes the growth of skeletal muscles and is related to the male hormone testosterone. There are over 100 known steroids that have been developed since first discovered in 1930. They were found to be effective in building skeletal muscle in laboratory animals and were first used by weight lifters and bodybuilders. It caught on with other athletes and is so prolific it has been know to affect the outcome of sports.

The lawful medical uses of these steroids are used to treat some impotence, delayed puberty, and help the body fight wasting diseases like HIV infection. These steroids are illegal in the United States but are smuggled into the country and sold by drug dealers. The use of steroids can effect a good portion of a teenager’s body.

Users of steroids use injection as a means to getting the substance into the body. They often are not careful and use non-sterile injections or share needles with other abusers.

Manufactured steroids are often made in environments that are not sterile and this puts the user in added danger. Hepatitis B and C, HIV, and other viral infections can be injected into the body with non-sterile needles. Infections can form at the injection sights and cause abscesses to form. A potentially fatal side effect is endocarditis which is a bacterial infection that causes inflammation of the inner lining of the heart.

Steroid use has also been linked with liver tumors and blood-filled cysts in the liver. If these rupture as they sometimes do, they cause internal bleeding, another potential life threatening condition.

Steroids affect the cardiovascular system. Misuse can cause heart attacks and strokes. These can affect all athletes, even teenagers.

There have been many reports of teenagers who have died of taking steroids. Steroids decrease the good levels of cholesterol, and increase the bad cholesterol which can increase the risk of blood clots that stop the blood flow to the heart or brain and become fatal.

Steroid use can cause problems with the skin, such as acne and cysts. It can also cause oily skin and hair.

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