Testosterone analogs are labelled as anabolic steroids because they mimic each other in body structure, precursors and function. Anabolic steroids are artificial versions of the body hormone testosterone and compounds. Both agents have a similar chemical structure of 17 beta-hydroxy and 3-oxo groups unsaturated at C-4-C5 (Nikolić & Rakić, 2018). Athletics is a vigorous physical activity that requires a lot of energy. For efficiency in the sport, an athlete will need well build and strong muscles. In the human body, the hormone testosterone is responsible for muscle building. However, to boost body strength faster, some athletes opt to use testosterone levels using synthetic modifications of testosterone.
The steroids are consumed orally in pill forms and via intramuscular injections. Once in the body system, they increase protein levels in the cells, especially the cells of the skeletal muscles. Elevated testosterone levels in the body change the body muscle mass and strength. Consequently, the muscles’ endurance capacity is improved, and fatigue onset is also delayed, enhancing the athlete’s overall performance (Nikolić & Rakić, 2018). Marion Jones, an American track and field athlete during the 2000 Olympics, won 3 gold medals and two bronze medals. Later on, after admitting to steroid usage during the games, she was stripped of the titles.
Studies done reveal that steroid abusers have significantly weaker hearts compared to non-users. The significant adverse effects of steroids on the cardiovascular system are hypertension and dyslipidemia. These effects increase the risks of suffering from coronary artery disease. The left ventricle is the main pumping chamber of the heart (Nikolić & Rakić, 2018). Steroid intake weakens the ventricle making it have weaker contractions. Anabolic steroids cause the deposition of atherosclerotic plaque in the coronary arteries. The plaque obstructs blood flow to the heart, increasing the chances of heart attack, ischemia, and heart failure.
Nikolić, B., & Rakić, D. (2018). The use of anabolic androgenic steroids: A focus on polypharmacy. Medicinski Pregled, 71(11-12), 413-417. Web.