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Anabolic steroids: Survey shows that athletes take the drugs that know the risks

IIn the United States alone, 3 to 4 million people use anabolic-androgenic steroids to increase their muscle mass. Steroid consumers account for 3.3 percent of the world's population worldwide. They are banned by professional athletics organizations, and scientists have warned about their health effects, but the quest to become frighteningly gay continues. New research results show that steroid consumers are aware of the consequences.

On Sunday, the European Congress of Endocrinology, a team of Russian scientists will present "The Price of a Beautiful Body" – a summary of their research on the use of anabolic-androgenic steroids. These steroids are synthetic variations of the male sex hormone testosterone. Sometimes they are prescribed by doctors to treat hormonal problems and diseases that lead to muscle atrophy. However, these drugs are also used by athletes and bodybuilders to increase performance and change their appearance. "Anabol" refers to muscle growth, while "androgen" refers to increased male characteristics.

When the researchers of the First State Medical University of Pavlov in Saint Petersburg conducted an anonymous survey among 550 men who regularly visited the gym, they found that 30.4 percent of the group used steroids. And more importantly, 70.2 percent of this group knew about the negative side effects of steroids.

"These results were surprising," explains first author Dr. Ing. Mykola Lykhonosov. "The prevalence of steroid abuse was not only high, but also the knowledge of the harmful side effects was high, but this does not stop them from taking them."

body building
In the study, bodybuilders knew the risks of steroids but still used them.

The list of harmful side effects is long. Abuse of steroids can lead to negative psychological effects such as paranoia, extreme irritability and mania. There is also evidence that steroid abuse has health consequences, including reduced sperm count, erectile dysfunction, baldness, breast development, and increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and liver or kidney failure.

According to the United States National Institute on Drug Abuse, much remains to be learned about how these medicines affect the body. Most of the long-term impact data comes from case reports, so the reported adverse effects may be under-reported. In the US, it is difficult to measure steroid abuse because national surveys do not measure it. However, it has been found that the dose is ten to 100 times higher than the doses prescribed for the treatment of diseases when people abuse them – either by oral ingestion, muscle injection or gel application.

The silver lining of this study is that 54.8 percent of respondents who used steroids said they still wanted more expert information about the drugs. The main source of information they received about steroids was the Internet, according to 48.7 percent.

Lykhonosov and his team argue that science-based online information can still be a "primary tool to limit the use of doping agents" – even if it seems like a lost cause. People may know what they are doing, what is bad for them, but they are willing to change their minds.

Partial summary:

backgroundThe motivation for using AAS in recreational men is improving body composition and strength indicators. A deterrent to the use of AAS may be to become aware of the side effects of its use, particularly the development of secondary hypogonadism.

Results: For the assessment 762 questionnaires were provided. 550 questionnaires met the criteria. AAS was used by 30.4% of respondents (n = 167). The main consumers of AAS were men between the ages of 22 and 35 – 74.3%. The most common drugs were testosterone propionate (51.5%). The most common dose of injectable testosterone was 1000 mg per week (23.9%). The use of AAS over 9 months was given by 11% (n = 19) of men. The main source of information on AAS was the Internet (48.7%). A negative attitude towards AAS was made by 17.3% of respondents. 69.3% (n = 381) of the respondents gave a positive answer to the question of AAS awareness, 30.7% – negative (n = 169). Almost all respondents using AAS reported having information on AAS – 96.4% (n = 161). In the group of non-AAS users, the majority of respondents are informed about AAS – 57.4% (n = 220), 42.6% (n = 163) are not informed. Among all respondents to a clarifying question about the awareness of side effects and complications in the use of AAS, the positive response was 73.8% (n = 406), the negative response was 26.2% (n = 144). AAS users know AAS (χ2 = 82.954, p <0.001) and their side effects (χ2 = 70.207, p <0.001) better than non-users. 22% (n = 121) of respondents were not informed about the side effects of steroids. 54.8% of respondents expressed a desire to receive qualified information about the AAS.

Conclusion: Survey data indicate a high awareness of the side effects of using AAS, which, surprisingly, does not mean that people who spend their free time consciously refrain from using it. However, a significant percentage of those who wish to receive qualified information on the dangers of steroids, gives reason to hope that this information may continue to be the main tool to limit the use of doping agents.

(tagsToTranslate) Health (t) Data (t) Public Health (t) Sports (t) Explanation (t) Standard (t) Mind & Body

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