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How do Steroids Work

How do Steroids Work

Is it safe for me to take steroids without prescription? How do they work? Read on to find out the answers to all these questions and more...
Dr. Sumaiya Khan
Last Updated: Feb 8, 2018
Steroids have been used for years, by not just athletes, but also by doctors to treat many diseases and disorders. The most commonly used steroids are anabolic steroids. These anabolic steroids are more often than not synthetic versions of testosterone. However, steroids naturally occur in the human body as well. Given below are details about steroids in the body and how do they work when taken externally.
How do Steroids Work in the Human Body
There are many effects that steroids have on the body. The natural steroid that is generated in the body is corticosteroid hormone. This is the hormone secreted by the adrenal cortex of the adrenal gland. This hormone is referred to as the 'stress hormone' as it is often secreted in response to a state of stress in the body. This steroid hormone tends to increase the blood pressure and the blood sugar levels, thus, reducing the functioning level of the immune system. Thus, they have anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties.
Synthetic forms of cortisol are also available that help to treat a variety of illnesses, especially autoimmune diseases. This is because autoimmune diseases tend to destroy cells of the body by wrongly identifying them as foreign bodies. Therefore, the body is in a heightened inflammatory state. Thus, these steroidal drugs suppress these inflammatory changes in the body. Furthermore, steroids are also almost always given to organ transplant patients. Organ transplant patients need to take steroids so as to prevent the chances of organ rejection. These external steroids can be given orally or can also be injected, depending on the cause and severity of need.
Steroids - How They Work to Build Muscle Mass
Well, the cells in the body are designed in such a manner that they have receptors on their surface. These are the receptors that bind to foreign bodies and allow them to bring about changes in the functioning or structure of the cell. So, when steroids are introduced into the body, the cell receptors bind to them. Since these steroids are normally anabolic steroids made of synthetic testosterone, they lead to effects similar to those that testosterone brings about in the body. Thus, they increase the muscle mass and strength. This is done by stimulating the cells into building new protein cells. Although the body tends to naturally build up proteins on exercise and proper food consumption, steroids tend to increase the rate at which proteins build up in the body. These extra proteins aid in formation of muscle mass.
How do Steroids Lead to Side Effects
One needs to understand that steroids are just like any other drugs, that is, if overdosed on, they can lead to some serious side effects. This is the reason that steroids are strictly prescription drugs, and anyone who obtains them without a prescription is doing so illegally. Furthermore, there are certain people who tend to overdose on steroids in an attempt to build muscles quickly. However, by overusing and abusing steroids, there are many side effects that can occur.
Firstly, anabolic steroids contain synthetic testosterone, which is, essentially, a sex hormone. Thus, all the secondary sexual characteristics that occur during growth are brought on by testosterone. So people overdosing on testosterone tend to develop extra sexual characteristics, like, men tend to develop breasts (known as gynecomastia). There is also thinning of hair, enlargement of prostate, oily skin, water retention, increased aggressiveness and mood changes, increased body hair, etc. Other side effects of excess use of steroids include depression, an increase in liver functioning, increase in blood pressure and cholesterol levels, abdominal cramps, nosebleeds, insulin insensitivity, stunted growth in case of growing teenagers, diarrhea and nausea, vomiting, constipation, etc. One very serious side effect of overdosing on steroids is the possibility of acceleration of growth of tumors.
This was all about steroids and what are their effects and side effects. So now that you know how do steroids work, you need to be wary of their possible side effects. The fact is that the best way to build muscle is with the help of regular exercise and by eating right, because always remember, that shortcuts tend to cut short your life!