During World War II, steroids were used experimentally on German soldiers in order to increase their aggressiveness and insensitivity to fatigue and pain (Wade 1399). Soviet athletes were reportedly the first to use the drugs in sports competition, and in the early 1950s they dominated many international sporting events (Miller 17). Soon, athletes from all over the world began using steroids, initially for such sports as weightlifting but soon following by use in distance running, wrestling, and swimming. Both men and women have been involved in their use, and it appears that they are now being used at all levels of competition.
There are, of course, legitimate and therapeutic uses of anabolic steroids. Besides those already mentioned, other uses include: promoting recovery from surgery, for quicker healing of fractures and broken bones, healing of severe burns, and in the treatment of muscular dystrophy. Anabolic steroids have also been used experimentally on genetic growth problems such as dwarfism. A summary of their most common primary effects in medicine would also include the promotion of healing, appetite, and blood production immediately after surgery. They can also stimulate the formation of skeletal tissue and help reduce the effects of osteoporosis and the healing of broken or fractured bones. Individuals who have dietary problems can also benefit from steroid use. Usually, this clinical use leads to increased appetite and an improved sense of well-being (Goldman 201). Studies also show that the medical use of anabolic steroids can help those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and other skeletal diseases. Certain types of anemia and other kidney dysfunctions seem to improve with limited uses of steroids. Also, minimal doses of anabolic steroids have been successfully used in aging men with decreased sexual activity, and have been shown to significantly increase the libido (Goldman 202).
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