There are many different types of steroids and they are used for many different reasons. Steroids are found in various types of medications such as bronchial inhalers, eye drops and more. When most of us think of steroids, those are not what come to mind. What usually comes to mind are the steroids that athletes use to get stronger and better at what they do. These types of steroids are called Anabolic steroids and have some very dangerous and sometimes life threatening side effects.
Acne is among the non serious side effects caused by steroids. Rosccea, the skin disorder has also been reported as a side effect of steroids. Increased fat excretion and hair loss are also known to be side effects. There is some evidence that anabolic steroid abuse may affect the immune system, leading to a decreased effectiveness of the defense system. Glucose tolerance has also been known to be decreased with steroid use while insulin use seems to be increased which mimic the type 2 diabetes. It has also been known to cause aggressive behavior because of the increase of testosterone level being increased by the steroid.
Mainly with orally administered steroids there seem to be the possibility of causing problems for the Liver. There are strong indications that steroids containing a 17-alpha-alkyl group can cause tumors of the liver. The tumors are usually benign and reverse after stopping with steroid administration. Use of steroids has been known to cause an increase in liver enzymes which can cause serious liver diseases.
Many men who have taken steroids have been known to have reproductive problems. That is one of those things that most people have heard of. The steroids can cause hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism which is absent or decreased function of the gonads. This can occur in men and woman as well.
Steroids also affect the cardiovascular system and the serum lipid profile. Most of the investigations on the effect of steroids on the heart have been focused on risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, and in particular the effect of anabolic steroids on blood pressure and on plasma lipoproteins. While using the anabolic steroids there seems to be an increase to cholesterol levels. There is some data suggesting that high doses increase diastolic blood pressure. There is also evidence that the use of steroids does elicit structural changes in the heart and that the ischemic tolerance is decreased after steroid use. Although there have been no long term studies on the effects of steroids on the heart, most of the mentioned effects appear to reverse within 6-8 weeks after abstention.
When an athlete decides to use steroids to help their selves grow in strength, they must take these things into consideration. I personally do not know of many people who would be willing to take the risk of some of these side effects just to be a little better at a sport. Of course, I do not know any professional athletes either.