The use of steroids continues to make news and sports headlines as athletes and bodybuilders use them illegally to gain an advantage on the playing field. Anabolic steroids refer to hormones that are either taken orally or by injection that influence the body's hormonal system to produce extra testosterone. The goal of taking anabolic steroids is to increase muscle mass. Anabolic refers to this muscle-building capability. Anabolic steroids should not be confused with corticosteroids, which are used routinely as anti-inflammatory medications to help treat illnesses in which inflammation is part of the disease process.
In today's society, anabolic steroid use has become common to augment sports performance, and abuse of these drugs begins as early as middle school. Studies of high school students reveal that up to 4% of 12th-grade males and 1.2% of females have used anabolic steroids. However, 2.5% of eighth graders also admit to trying anabolic steroids.
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