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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

atHome™ Steroid Test Forensic Steroid Abuse Urine Testing

Q: What is a steroid?
A: A steroid is a terpenoid lipid characterized by a carbon skeleton with four fused rings. All steroids are made in cells either from the sterol lanosterol or the sterol cycloartenol. Both sterols are derived from the cyclization of the triterpene squalene.

Q: What are Anabolic steroids?
A: Anabolic steroids are a class of steroid hormones related to the hormone testosterone. They increase protein synthesis within cells, which results in the buildup of cellular tissue (anabolism), especially in muscles. Anabolic steroids also have androgenic and virilizing properties, including the development and maintenance of masculine characteristics.

Q: What is sex steroid?
A: Sex steroids, are steroid hormones that interact with vertebrate androgen or estrogen receptors. Natural sex steroids are made by the gonads, by adrenal glands, or by conversion from other sex steroids in other tissues such as liver or fat.

Q: What are steroidal supplements?
A: In the United States , supplements such as tetrahydrogestrinone (THG) and androstenedione (street name "Andro") previously could be purchased legally without a prescription through many commercial sources, including health food stores. Steroidal supplements can be converted into testosterone or a similar compound in the body. Less is known about the side effects of steroidal supplements, but if large quantities of these compounds substantially increase testosterone levels in the body, then they also are likely to produce the same side effects as anabolic steroids themselves. The purchase of these supplements, with the notable exception of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), became illegal after the passage in 2004 of amendments to the Controlled Substances Act

Q: Why is the use of anabolic steroids banned by all major sporting bodies?
A: Anabolic steroids are used in medicine to stimulate bone growth and appetite, induce male puberty. They also produce increases in muscle mass and physical strength. So it is banned by all major sporting bodies like WTA, ITF, International Olympic Committee, FIFA, UEFA, the National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the European Athletic Association and the National Football League.

Q: What is pharmacology of anabolic steroids?
A: These steroids promote anabolism. They are androgenic or virilizing. The biochemical functions of androgens such as testosterone are numerous. Processes affected include pubertal growth, sebaceous gland oil production, and sexuality.

Q: What are the adverse effects of anabolic steroids?
A: Most of its side effects are dose dependent. The most common are blood pressure with pre-existing hypertension, harmful changes in cholesterol levels. It increases the risk of cardiovascular disease or coronary artery disease, enlargement and thickening of the left ventricle, cardiac arrhythmias, congestive heart failure, heart attacks, and sudden cardiac death.

Q: Why is the test for steroids required?
A: First, using steroids without a prescription can cause serious, adverse health effects. Second, using steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs can give athletes an unfair advantage over their competition, and is cheating. Third, testing for steroids can help deter their use among high school students. Finally, steroids are drugs that should be used to treat medical conditions.

Q: What are the methods used to detect steroids?
A: Various methods are being used by the sports authorities for detecting steroids like HPLC, GC, Immunoassay, Radio Immunoassay. Antibody-antigen based immunoassays are used as preliminary checks which give reasonably accurate results. Chromatographic methods may be employed for detailed analysis.

Q: What are Synthetic sex steroids?
A: There are also synthetic sex steroids. Synthetic androgens are often referred to as anabolic steroids. Synthetic estrogens and progestins are used in methods of hormonal contraception. Ethinylestradiol is a semi-synthetic estrogen.

Q: What is Hormonal therapy?
A: Hormonal therapy involves the manipulation of the endocrine system through exogenous administration of specific hormones, particularly steroid hormones, or drugs which inhibit the production or activity of such homones (hormone antagonists). Because steroid hormones are powerful drivers of gene expression in certain cancer cells and cause cell death.

Q: How is Hormonal therapy useful?
A: Hormonal therapy is used for several types of cancers derived from hormonally responsive tissues, including the breast, prostate, endometrium, and adrenal cortex. Hormonal therapy may also be used in the treatment of paraneoplastic syndromes or to ameliorate certain cancer- and chemotherapy-associated symptoms, such as anorexia.

Q: What are the medical uses of anabolic steroids ?
A: Anabolic steroids have been used by physicians for many purposes like Bone marrow stimulation, Growth stimulation, Stimulation of appetite and preservation and increase of muscle mass, Induction of male puberty, hormone replacement therapy.

Q: What are the functions of sex steroids?
A: Sex steroids play important roles in inducing the body changes known as primary sex characteristics and secondary sex characteristics. The development of both primary and secondary sexual characteristics is controlled by sex hormones after the initial fetal stage where the presence or absence of the Y-chromosome and/or the SRY gene determine development

Q: What are the types of sex steroids?
A: The two main classes of sex steroids are androgens and estrogen. Progestagen is a third class of sex steroids. These classes have been further divided in human derivatives like testosterone, androstenedione, anabolic steroids, estradiol, estrone, progestins and progesterone.

Q: What is the non-medical use of anabolic steroids?
A: The non-medical use of anabolic steroids is controversial because of their adverse effects and their use to gain potential advantage in competitive sports. Anabolic steroid users often are stereotyped as uneducated muscle heads by popular media and culture. Anabolic steroids for non medical purposes had a higher employment rate and a higher household income than the general population.

Q: What is a steroid cycle?
A: A steroid cycle is a term commonly used to describe a period in time where an individual intakes anabolic steroids. The longer the body's endogenous supply of testosterone is suppressed, the harder it will be for their hypothalamus/pituitary/testicular axis (HPTA) to recover. More serious health risks are associated with longer cycles.

Q: How to minimize side effects of anabolic steroids?
A: Various methods of minimizing the adverse effects of anabolic steroids have been implemented. Users may increase their cardiovascular exercise level to help to counter the effects of changes in the left ventricle, Some androgens are converted by the body into estrogen, a process, known as aromatisation, which has potential adverse effects. Consequently, during a steroid cycle, users may also take drugs to prevent aromatisation.

Q: What is a hormone?
A: A hormone is a chemical messenger that carries a signal from one cell (or group of cells) to another via the blood. All multi-cellular organisms produce hormones. There are different types of hormones which govern different developmental and functional states.

Q: What is Endocrine hormone?
A: Endocrine hormone molecules are secreted (released) directly into the bloodstream, while exocrine hormones are secreted directly into a duct, and from the duct they either flow into the bloodstream or they flow from cell to cell by diffusion in a process known as paracrine signaling.

Q: What is the Hierarchical nature of hormonal control?
A: The secretion of hormones from successive levels of endocrine cells is stimulated by chemical signals originating from cells higher up the hierarchical system. The master coordinator of hormonal activity in mammals is the hypothalamus, which acts on input that it receives from the central nervous system. Other hormone secretion occurs in response to local conditions, such as the rate of secretion of parathyroid hormone by the parathyroid cells in response to fluctuations of ionized calcium levels in extra-cellular fluid.

Q: What is the Pharmacology of hormones?
A: A pharmacologic dose of a hormone is a medical usage referring to an amount of a hormone far greater than naturally occurs in a healthy body. The effects of pharmacologic doses of hormones may be different from responses to naturally-occurring amounts and may be therapeutically useful. Local preparations for use in otolaryngology often contain pharmacologic equivalents of adrenaline.

Q: What is the Physiology of hormones?
A: The rate of hormone biosynthesis and secretion is often regulated by a homeostatic negative feedback control mechanism. Such a mechanism depends on factors which influence the metabolism and excretion of hormones. One special group of hormones is the tropic hormones that stimulate the hormone production of other endocrine glands. Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) causes growth and increased activity of another endocrine gland, the thyroid, which increases output of thyroid hormones.

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