The most popular steroid available for consumption around the world is the anabolic steroid. Anabolic steroids are growth hormones, mainly male sex growth hormones such as testosterone, which are heavily used by men engaged in muscle and body building. This type of steroid is used for the purpose of muscle enhancement primarily in competitive body building. The testosterone molecules filter into muscle cells and stimulate them to increase production of protein molecules, which, in turn, aids in the formation and development of more muscle cells.
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Other types of steroids have far more beneficial aspects to them. They, too, occur naturally in the body, but are often used from external sources to provide benefits of an enhanced dosage greater than the body can produce on its own.
One primary example of this is the steroid cortisol, which is produced from the outer cortex of the adrenal glands, which sit atop your kidneys. These substances are technically called corticosteroids. Some of the functions they serve include maintenance of normal blood sugar levels and electrolyte (sodium and potassium) balance.
The most widely understood benefits of corticosteroids are their anti-inflammatory and wound-healing capabilities. This occurs when the steroids help to block the body's production of substances called prostaglandins, which are triggers for allergy and inflammation responses. This is how steroids help to control inflammation and pain caused by it.
Corticosteroids are typically used to treat the pain and inflammation of joint arthritis. They are most commonly administered by way of injection into the affected areas, mainly the joints themselves. Steroid injections are frequently used to treat tendinitis and bursitis as well.
Organ transplant patients are almost universally required to remain on lifelong doses of steroids to suppress the body's rejection abilities to the transplanted organ(s). These are given by injection or orally and suppress the inflammation cycle and prostaglandin production that causes the body to produce the deadly white corpuscles that defend the body against foreign substances.
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