As the opioid crisis rages on in the United States, drug use from other substances is often overlooked. For example, while we may hear about performance-enhancing drugs on the news, we don’t hear much about how they may be being used by close friends or loved ones and the harmful consequences associated with them.
Performance-enhancing drugs, or PEDs, can be tempting for athletes to use as they can be a shortcut for improving athletic ability and performance. PED use is widespread, in fact, according to the Mayo Clinic, about five percent of teenagers use steroids to increase muscle mass.
Due to the high use of these types of drugs, it is important to learn more about the negative health consequences associated with these types of substances and how they affect the body.
What Are PEDs?
Almost everyone is familiar with the term performance-enhancing drugs or PEDs from famous athletes being busted and suspended for their use of these substances. However, some may not know exactly how they work or what specific PEDs there are.
Performance-enhancing drugs all work in different ways depending on which drug is used. For instance some work by boosting the level of testosterone in the body, increasing heart rate, stimulating the growth of muscles, and more. While these may help with athletic performance in small bursts, the use of these substances can also lead to numerous health consequences.
Common Types of PEDs
There is a long list of PEDs that athletes have used to help give them an upper hand in their respective sports. Some of the most common forms of PEDs include:
Anabolic Steroids — Anabolic steroids are man-made substances that are related to male sex hormones. Doctors will sometimes use anabolic steroids to treat some hormone problems in men, delayed puberty, and muscle loss from certain diseases. Bodybuilders and athletes will use these types of PEDs to build muscles and improve athletic performance.
Androstenedione — Androstenedione is a hormone that is produced by the adrenal glands, ovaries, and testes that is available legally by prescription in the United States. Manufacturers and some bodybuilding publications have touted androstenedione’s ability to allow athletes to train harder and recover more quickly. However, scientific studies refute these claims and say that the PED doesn’t increase testosterone and muscles don’t get stronger with the use of androstenedione.
Creatine — Creatine is a chemical that is found in the body, mostly in the muscles but also in the brain. Creatine is most commonly used for improving exercise performance and increasing muscle mass in athletes. Creatine is generally safe but if taken for a long period of time may result in some prob