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Illegal Usage of Steroids in Sports

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As a student in a rehabilitation clinic, I was brought a 17-year old male patient. His parents believe he has been taking steroids as he has had extreme mood swings (mainly anger) and major headaches. He has also put on 21 Lbs of muscle, become stronger, increased endurance and gained major muscle definition within a short period (4 months). After speaking directly to the patient, he has confessed to taking Nandrolone, an androgen and anabolic steroid that promotes tissue building processes and the production of proteins. It can be used in the form of esters, either nandrolone decanoate or nandrolone phenylpropionate. 

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Not only is the illegal usage of steroids in sports a problem, but the possible side effects. Anabolic steroids pass through the cell membrane and bind to a receptor inside the cell and activate transcription (mimics the effects of testosterone), they have been found to cause: acne, irritability, heart problems, breast development, kidney problems, hair loss, mood swings and aggressive behaviours. In this case, Danny has had major muscle gain, mood swings and extreme headaches. Nandrolone affects bone marrow by binding to androgen receptors and stimulating testosterone production, it also increases appetite (helps to bulk); increases nitrogen retention, stimulating protein synthesis; improves RBC’s and nutrition circulation for a quick recovery; increases the production of growth hormones; and overall affects the number of red blood cells and the nervous system. 

He explained that he is a quarterback for his high school football team, he is getting scouted and needs to be the top quarterback and even wants to be captain, which means he must be the best on the team (according to him). Danny is a possible captain of his hometown’s football team. A new student has transferred and joined the team, this new student seems to have natural talent and threatens Danny’s spot as captain which has made him very vulnerable. 

During his time of vulnerability, he was introduced to steroids by his teammates, seeing as everyone else is doing it, Danny felt as though it wasn’t that bad. The patient has agreed to visit me as he wants ways to counteract these side effects so that he can still take the steroid. He has also asked about the fat under his nipples. 

Seeing as steroids are illegal for athletic use, Danny could get caught after taking a urine test and lose his chance at a scholarship and taking into account the interest of Danny I would suggest many different options that include: protein drinks, creatine and amino acids that can improve muscle mass when taken with exercise, but be cautious as too much can cause kidney problems and dehydration; anti-inflammatory agents which are taken before training to reduce possible muscle stiffness, soreness and inflammation; antioxidants to decrease muscle damage by free radicals; omega-3-fatty acids to stimulate the release of growth hormones (ginseng is taken to improve energy and vigour); insulin to decrease blood glucose levels while increasing protein production but this can be dangerous and may cause hypoglycemic shock. 

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