- A steroid is a lipid characterized by a carbon skeleton with four fused rings.
- Cholesterol is an important steroid, being a common component of animal cell membranes. However, a high level of it can cause various conditions and diseases, such as atherosclerosis
- Anabolic steroids are a class of natural and synthetic steroid hormones that promote cell growth and division, resulting in growth of muscle tissue and sometimes bone size and strength.
- Testosterone is the best known natural anabolic steroid, as well as the best known natural androgen.
- Examples of anabolic effects:
- Increased protein synthesis from amino acids
- Increased muscle mass and strength
- Increased appetite
- Increased bone remodelling and growth
- Stimulation of bone marrow increasing production of red blood cells
- The side effects (some the opposite of intended effects) include elevated blood pressure and cholesterol levels, severe acne, premature baldness, reduced sexual function, and testicular atrophy.
- In males, abnormal breast development can occur.
- In females, anabolic steroids have a masculinizing effect, resulting in more body hair, a deeper voice, smaller breasts, masculinized and fewer menstrual cycles.
- In physiology, corticosteroids are a class of steroid hormones that are produced in the adrenal cortex.
- Two types of corticosteroid that used as medicine are cortisone and prednisone.
- A steroid hormone produced by the adrenal cortex. Introduced in 1948 for its anti-inflammatory effect in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, it has been largely replaced by related compounds that do not produce certain undesirable side effects.
- The therapeutic dose, however, when used as an anti-inflammatory drug, is much larger than the amount normally present in the body, and the minor functions of the hormone become exaggerated, leading to edema (swelling), increased gastric acidity, and imbalances in metabolism of sodium, potassium, and nitrogen.
- Prednisone is particularly effective as an immunosuppressant and affects virtually all of the immune system.
- It can therefore be used in autoimmune diseases, inflammatory diseases and to prevent and treat rejection in organ transplantation.