What are Anabolic steroids?
- Anabolic steroids are essentially lab-made versions of the male hormone testosterone and have a similar effect of increasing muscle mass as the natural hormone does.
- It also increases male characteristics in a person, such as facial hair and a deeper voice.
- Anabolic steroids, also known as anabolic–androgenic steroids, are steroidal androgens that include natural androgens like testosterone as well as synthetic androgens that are structurally related and have similar effects to testosterone.
- Testosterone is a sex hormone that in men is thought to regulate sex drive (libido), bone mass, fat distribution, muscle mass and strength, and the production of red blood cells and sperm.
- They also increase protein within cells, especially in skeletal muscles, and also have varying degrees of virilizing effects, including induction of the development and maintenance of masculine secondary sexual characteristics such as the growth of facial and body hair.
- Androgens or AAS are one of three types of sex hormone agonists, the others being estrogens like estradiol and progestogens like progesterone.
- Anabolic steroids are, however, very different from the steroids that are prescribed by doctors for inflammations, several autoimmune diseases, or to suppress the body’s immune system during a Covid-19 infection.
- These medicines are called corticosteroids and are lab-made molecules that mimic the action of the hormone called cortisol that controls the body’s stress response, metabolism, and inflammation.
- The anabolic steroids have a very limited medical role and are mainly used by doctors to help patients gain weight after a severe illness or injury.
- They are used medically in humans to treat a variety of conditions, including anaemia, breast cancer, hypogonadism, short stature, malnutrition, osteoporosis, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) wasting syndrome.
- Doctors may also prescribe the medicine to men who have low levels of natural testosterone.
- India is ranked third in doping, according to the latest World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report released in 2021.
- With 152 cases across disciplines, the country is marginally below leaders Russia (167) and Italy (157) on this list.
- Use of anabolic steroids in the short-term can cause acne and hairfall.
- Extended misuse of the substance can also lead to gynaecomastia (growth of breasts in men) and erectile dysfunction.
- In women, it can lead to growth of facial hair. It may also cause extreme anger, paranoia, and impaired judgement.
- Long-term use can lead to kidney disease and even failure, liver damage and tumours, enlarged heart, and high blood pressure.
- It can also lead to stunted growth in teenagers.
About World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)-
- It is a non-profit foundation initiated by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to promote, coordinate, and monitor the fight against drugs in sports.
- It was set up on 10 November 1999 in Lausanne, Switzerland, as a result of the “Declaration of Lausanne“, to promote, coordinate and monitor the fight against drugs in sports.
- Since 2002, the organization’s headquarters have been located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
- WADA is responsible for the World Anti-Doping Code, adopted by more than 650 sports organizations, including international sports federations, national anti-doping organizations, the IOC, and the International Paralympic Committee.
- Initially funded by the IOC, WADA receives half of its budgetary requirements from them, with the other half coming from various national governments.
- Its governing bodies are also composed in equal parts by representatives from the sporting movement (including athletes) and governments of the world.
- The highest decision-making authority is the 38-member foundation board, which is composed equally of IOC representatives and representatives of national governments.