Doping is one of the biggest issues in modern sports. This applies to both professional and recreational athletes, the latter oftentimes being unaware of the numerous negative consequences of using banned athletic performance-enhancing drugs.
The desire to progress quickly can cause long-term damage to one’s body, threatening its vital functions. Even though doping is not banned from amateur sports and its use is not against any rules, there is always the fact that you are cheating on yourselves and pushing your boundaries unfairly. Some of the most common doping substances include steroids, various stimulants, synthetic erythropoietin, human growth hormone and marijuana, and studies show the necessity of prevention in reducing their consumption.
One should bear in mind that over the past years there has been an increase in the use of different supplements boosting muscle growth and reducing body fat. The supplements’ use is also rather harmful as they are taken without medical supervision and as their consumption exceeds the recommended dosages many times over, which can also impact one’s physical and mental health.
The most effective ways to combat doping include prevention and raising the awareness about its harmfulness, and that is exactly what the project Just Sport is aimed at.
Steroids are based on the male sex hormone testosterone. In sports, steroids are mainly used for muscle growth and strength gains. Some of the many negative effects of taking steroids include a higher risk of heart and liver damage and diseases, as well as increased aggression. Steroid use in men can cause a number of problems with their reproductive organs and their functions, including infertility and erectile dysfunction. At the same time, women may develop masculine characteristics, including deepening of the voice, increased facial hair and absence of menstrual periods.
Stimulants include a wide spectrum of substances reducing feelings of fatigue and increasing alertness. At the same time, these substances cause insomnia, involuntary shaking or tremor, loss of balance and coordination, irregular heartbeats and increased risk of heart attacks or strokes. Stimulant abuse combined with physical exertion has even resulted in athletes’ deaths in various sports arenas.
Erythropoietin is a hormone produced by the kidneys and the liver. It regulates the production of the red blood cells, which carry oxygen from the lungs to the cells. A synthetic version of the natural hormone erythropoietin is used in sports to help the body make better use of the oxygen but is associated with the sudden death risk. Erythropoietin thickens the blood making it honey-like, thick and sticky, preventing normal blood circulation. As a result, the blood pressure surges and the heart slows down, increasing the risk of a heart attack or a stroke.
The growth hormone, whether synthetic or human, builds muscle mass, strengthens the bones and reduces recovery time after an injury. The side-effects are extremely dangerous and include acromegaly, that is to say, enlarged hands and feet or internal organs; they also increase the risk of arthritis as well as liver and thyroid diseases.
Marijuana, or cannabis, is also on the list of banned athletic performance-enhancing drugs. It affects one’s sports results and health in general. Cannabis consumption leads to memory and attention deficits, and suppresses the body’s immune system. It also affects the lungs and smoking it can cause throat cancer as well as physical and psychological dependence.