Side Effects of Steroids
Steroid hormones can play a major role in the function of a body and its cells. Although steroids do not directly cause side effects, they can cause certain problems in a body system.
A steroid is a chemically active natural compound with four carbon rings arranged in an approximate molecular configuration called a steroid molecule. Steroids are very important elements of cell membranes that regulate the fluidity of the membrane and, therefore, cell metabolism. In addition, steroids also serve as signal molecules that are released into the body system to alert the body about specific bodily functions. A number of drugs such as testosterone, human growth hormone, glucocorticosteroids, and diuretics also contain steroid molecules.
When the steroid hormone level in the body increases, it is called anabolism and when it decreases it is referred to as catabolism. When a body produces more steroids than it needs for proper functioning, the imbalance results in damage to cells, immune system, and the immune system itself.
There are some known side effects of taking steroids, including liver damage, bone fractures, nerve damage, and cancer. These side effects can be serious and even life threatening and should not be ignored.
Unfortunately, most of the time, the side effects of steroids are associated with long term use. Most people who use these drugs will experience the common side effects over a period of time without experiencing any problems. Nevertheless, these symptoms may indicate that the body system is out of balance or is not functioning properly.
In some cases, steroids can cause a severe imbalance in the function of an enzyme which can lead to serious side effects, including heart disease, nerve damage, and kidney failure. The side effects of steroids can occur in a variety of body systems, including the cardiovascular, pulmonary, urinary, and reproductive system. There are many side effects of steroids, which include:
Muscle Building Steroid Use: When steroids build muscle mass, their presence increases the body’s metabolic rate and causes more energy production. They may increase muscle strength, but can also slow down the recovery of muscle fibers. When the muscles become damaged because of the increased metabolism, the repair process can take longer. This can lead to permanent damage to muscle tissues and slow the muscle building process.
When steroids stop working, the body’s ability to break down fat becomes impaired. This leads to obesity, heart attack, cancer, and other serious diseases. It may lead to the slowing of the metabolism, decreased blood flow to organs such as the brain, the liver, and the kidneys, and an increased risk of infection. Some people have even reported death from steroid-related side effects. Because of the serious nature of some of these side effects, steroids should only be taken under medical supervision and the risks should never be ignored.
Bone Faults: In men, steroid use can lead to kidney failure, bone fractures, heart attacks, depression, and heart failure. In women, the risk of osteoporosis is also increased. Both male and female steroids may also increase the risk of breast cancer in both genders. There is also a high risk of diabetes in people who use steroids for extended periods of time. When taken regularly, steroid use can also cause infertility and cancer.
Skin Rash: Steroid use may also result in rashes, hives, or blisters. They can also cause inflammation of the bladder or bowels, inflammation of the lungs, inflammation of the pancreas, and a rare form of acne. In rare cases, steroids have even been known to cause lung or liver cancer.
Joint Pain: A common problem is joint pain. As mentioned previously, when steroids slow down the repair process of damaged joints, there is an increased risk of arthritis. This may result in joint swelling, inflammation, discoloration, and a painful burning sensation. Some people also have a reduced sense of smell and taste in their mouth and in other areas of the body.
Hormone Replacement Therapy: Using steroids for a prolonged period of time has also been associated with the development of cancer. They can cause the growth of malignant tumors. They can also cause heart problems, nerve damage, or infertility in both men and women. When used over a long period of time, they can lead to low sperm count and fertility problems in both genders. When used improperly, they can cause anemia, stroke, and even premature death.