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Performance-Enhancing Drugs: Knowing the Risks

Performance-Enhancing Drugs: Know the Risks

Hope to Gain an Edge Pass Taking performance-enhancing drugs? Learn how these medicines work and how they can affect your health. Mayo Clinic Staff

Most serious athletes feel a strong drive to win. They also often have big dreams. Some athletes want to play for professional sports teams. Others hope to win medals for their countries. The pressure to win leads some athletes to use drugs that may give them an edge. These are called performance-enhancing drugs. Using these drugs is called doping.

But doping carries risks. Learn more about the health effects of performance-enhancing drugs.

Anabolic Steroids

what are they?

Anabolic steroids are drugs used by athletes to increase their strength and build muscle. These drugs are also called anabolic androgenic steroids. They work similarly to a hormone called testosterone that the body produces. Testosterone has two main effects on the body: Helps build muscle. Causes features such as facial hair and a deep voice.

Used by athletes Anabolic steroids are usually lab-made forms of testosterone.

Some people use anabolic steroids for medical reasons. But doping in sports is not one of the approved uses for these drugs.

What makes some athletes want to use anabolic steroids? These drugs may reduce damage to muscles during strenuous exercise. This can help athletes recover faster from their workouts. They may be able to exercise harder and more often. Some people may also like the look of their muscles while taking these drugs.

The more dangerous types of anabolic steroids are called designer steroids. Some drug tests may not detect them in the body. Anabolic steroids have no government-approved medical use.


Many athletes take excessively high doses of anabolic steroids. These doses are much higher than those used by healthcare providers for medical reasons. Anabolic steroids also have serious side effects.

Men may:

    to see their breasts grow. Notice how their testicles have shrunk. cannot impregnate their partners. Learned from their healthcare provider that their prostate gland was enlarged.

    Women can: The voice is deeper. Treatment may not be able to change it back. Note that a part of their genitalia called the clitoris has gotten bigger . Grow more body hair. Lose the hair on your head. Treatment may not bring hair back. Stopping periods or getting them much less often than before.

    All use synthesis People on metabolic steroids may start to see:

  • Severe acne.
  • Higher risk of swelling or tears in the body called tendons Ropes, which connect muscles to bones. Tumors in the liver, or other changes in the liver. Higher levels of “bad” cholesterol, known as LDL Protein (LDL) cholesterol. Lower “good” cholesterol (called high-density lipoprotein (HDL) ) cholesterol) levels. High blood pressure. Heart and blood flow problems. Anger or violence issues. Mental health conditions such as depression. required uncontrollable anabolic steroids.

      If the drug is injected with a needle, it may cause diseases such as HIV or hepatitis.

      taking anabolic steroids Teenagers may also grow more slowly than usual. They may also increase the risk of health problems later in life.

      Most sports leagues and groups ban anabolic steroids. And it’s not legal. It is never safe to buy anabolic steroids from drug dealers. These medicines may be contaminated or mislabeled.


      what is it?

        Androstenedione, also known as andro, is a hormone produced by everyone’s body. The body converts androgens into a form of the hormone testosterone and estrogen.

        Androgens can be made in a laboratory. Some drugmakers and fitness magazines claim that Andro products can help athletes train harder and recover faster. But some studies show that andro does not raise testosterone levels. They also showed that the muscles don’t get stronger.

        Andro is legal to use only if prescribed by a healthcare provider. It is illegal to use as a stimulant drug in the United States.


          andro is right Side effects in men include:

        Acne. The testicles have shrunk or produced fewer sperm. Breast development.

        Side effects for women include: Acne. Deep voice. The hair on my head is falling out.

        Andro may damage heart and blood vessels of anyone taking it. When the heart doesn’t get enough blood, this increases the risk of a serious problem called a heart attack. It also increases the risk of a condition in which the brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, called a stroke. Heart attacks and strokes can be fatal.

        Human Growth Hormone

        what is it?

          Athletes take human growth hormone, also known as somatotropin, to build muscle and do better at their sports. But research doesn’t definitively prove that human growth hormone increases strength or helps people exercise longer.

          Human growth hormone may be prescribed by a healthcare provider for certain health reasons. It is given as a shot.


            AND HUMAN GROWTH Hormone-related side effects may include: Pain in joints where two or more bones join together. Muscles feel weak. Excessive fluid accumulation in the body. A condition that affects how the body uses sugar for energy. This is called diabetes. Vision impaired. May cause weakness, tingling, or loss of feeling in hands and arms The problem. This is called carpal tunnel syndrome. Difficulty controlling blood sugar. The heart becomes larger than usual, which is called cardiomegaly. High blood pressure.


            What is it?

              Erythropoietin is a hormone. It can treat anemia in people with severe kidney disease. It raises the level of red blood cells. It also increases levels of a protein in red blood cells called hemoglobin that carries oxygen to body organs.

              Taking erythropoietin can improve the way oxygen is delivered to the muscles. The use of lab-made erythropoietin, known as erythropoietin, is common for athletes who work out for long periods of time.


            in the 1990s In the 1990s, professional cyclists commonly used erythropoietin. But the drug may have contributed to at least 18 deaths. Using erythropoietin stimulants may increase your risk of serious health problems. These include strokes, heart attacks, and blocked pulmonary arteries.


            what are they?

        Diuretics are medicines that change the body’s fluid and salt balance. They cause the body to lose water, which reduces the athlete’s body weight. Diuretics can also help athletes pass drug tests by checking their urine for signs of the drug. They dilute the urine and may hide traces of the drug.


        Taking any dose of diuretics can cause side effects — even the doses recommended by your healthcare provider. These drugs make athletes more prone to side effects such as:

      • Lose more water than you take in. This is a serious problem called dehydration.
      • Muscle squeezing pain, called cramping. Feeling dizzy, light-headed, weak, or unsteady. Deficiency in a mineral called potassium, which the body needs to function normally Work. Blood pressure drops. Feeling clumsy when moving and having difficulty maintaining balance.

        If athletes take diuretics Doping can cause death using them for doping.


        what is it?

        Nutrients are vitamins and minerals in food that are good for you. Some people try to get more nutrients from supplements. Supplements are sold in stores and online in powder or pill form. One supplement popular with athletes is called creatine monohydrate.

        The body also produces its own creatine. It helps muscles release energy. Creatine supplements can help athletes gain small, short-term bursts of strength.

        Creatine appears to help muscles produce more of an energy source called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP

        stores and moves energy in the cells of the body. It is used for activities that involve quick bursts of movement, such as weightlifting or sprinting. But there’s no evidence that creatine helps you perform better during aerobic exercise (aerobic exercise), which makes you breathe faster and raise your heart rate.


          Creatine side effects may include weight gain and abdominal or muscle cramps.

          Some athletes try to put on weight so they can get bigger. Creatine may help you gain weight over time. But this may be due to creatine causing the body to retain extra water. Water is drawn into the muscle tissue, away from the rest of the body. This puts you at risk of dehydration.

          Studies have shown that creatine is safe for short- and long-term use in healthy adults. It is very important to use the dosage recommended by the creatine manufacturer on the package.


        what are they?

        Stimulants increase the levels of certain chemicals in the brain. They also increase your heart rate and raise your blood pressure. Doping can help athletes: Workouts last longer. Feeling less tired or hungry. Feeling more alert and active.

        common excitement Drugs include caffeine and drugs called amphetamines. Cold medicines often contain stimulants.

        Energy drinks are popular with many athletes. They often contain high doses of caffeine and other stimulants. The street drugs cocaine and methamphetamine are also stimulants.


        Doping has side effects that can make athletes perform poorly, for example: Difficulty concentrating due to feeling nervous or angry. Difficulty sleeping. Dehydration. Heat stroke, which occurs when the body becomes too hot to cool down will happen. Addiction to stimulants, or higher doses are required to Feel the effect.

        Other side effects include:

          Heart beating fast, thumping or The feeling of thumping. Heart beats too fast, too slow, or out of rhythm. Weight loss. A vibration called a tremor. High blood pressure. The feeling of seeing things that are not there is called hallucinations. Stroke. Heart attack or other blood flow problems.

          Bottom Line

          Some athletes appear to gain an advantage from performance-enhancing drugs. But taking stimulants can have adverse health effects.

          In general, the long-term effects of stimulants have not been adequately studied. Any short-term benefit comes with risks. Doping is also banned in most sports leagues and groups.

          This is why using performance enhancing drugs is risky.

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        • June 27, 2023

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