The Use of Performance Enhancing Drugs in Sports

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Sports are arguably one of the best things that were ever created. We as humans are allowed to compete in a friendly way and let out our emotions and connect with new people. Though we all want to be the best, other people choose to cheat their way to success. Drugs can take a toll on an athlete's body. Many experts believe that Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) are a problem because they give players an advantage against their competitors and take a toll on an athlete's body. Athletes only look at the beneficial aspect of the drug but disregard the risks they have when doping. Performance Enhancing Drugs is any substance taken in non-pharmacological doses specifically to improve sports performance, therefore creating an unfair competitive advantage performance. Throughout my research, I focused on the health risks of the drug and how the drug itself enhanced performance.

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The most common drugs that were researched were Anabolic steroids, Androstenedione, Human Growth Hormone, Erythropoietin, Diuretics, Creatine, and Stimulant. Men naturally produce testosterone. Testosterone is both a natural hormone and the most common drug of abuse. Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone and an anabolic steroid. Testosterone plays a role in the development of a male reproductive system. It promotes sexual characteristics such as increased muscle and bone mass, and the growth of body hair. Anabolic agents are banned from competition by most international sports federations, but yet numerous athletes test positive year-round for this drug. Testosterone was a drug taken by athletes that had a physical and mental advantage in sports. Testosterone promotes athletic performance and it also promotes rapid effects on behavior. Athletes who took large amounts of anabolic agents had an increase in motivation to compete in sports. In addition to an increase in motivation to compete testosterone had a positive number of traits and behaviors that showed an advantage in competitive sports. Research showed it helped reduce distractions from negatively valenced and arousing stimuli in a sports environment. Testosterone also associated with reduced empathy, this impacted the game a lot because therefore the athlete wouldn’t care at all about hurting their opponent at all. On top of all this testosterone is linked to increased risk-taking in competitive sports. This showed that testosterone had a psychological and physiological advantage in sports. Although the advantage an athlete has taken this drug is huge it still doesn’t disregard the health risks that come with it. Health risks such as Prominent breasts, shrunken testicles, infertility, and prostate gland enlargement occur. Human Growth hormone is another drug that is most commonly used among athletes. Human growth hormone promotes larger muscles, more energy, and improved exercise capacity. Athletes who received daily injections for an average of 20 days increased their body mass by an average of 4.6 pounds. The major health risks for these drugs included joint pain, muscle weakness, cardiomegaly, and hypertension. This drug had a huge cardiovascular effect. Erythropoietin is a drug that increases red blood cell production and hemoglobin production. The more red blood cells you have in your body, the more oxygen your muscles receive is high. This causes fatigue to be reduced exponentially and endurance is increased tremendously. It also increases metabolism and recovery of muscles due to the increase of nutrients that come with the increase of RBCs. When taking erythropoietin your blood begins to thicken which then can cause a clot in your body. This then leads to potential life threats such as heart attacks and strokes. Creatine Monohydrate isn’t as severe as the drugs mentioned previously. Creatine is naturally found in your muscle cells. It helps your muscles produce energy during heavy lifting and high-intensity exercise. When using this drug you increase the store of phosphocreatine. This helps produce more ATP or also known as energy. Creatine also increases muscle size, strength, and recovery. Research has shown when taking creatine there is an increase in strength by 8%, weightlifting performance by 14%, a 1 repetition maximum in bench press by 43%.  

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