Prather Pediatric and Allergy Center - Ask Doctor Brent

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Title: Steroids and Our Youth

Category: Child Care


Recently Lyle Alzado, a former all pro football player, died of brain cancer. His cancer was thought to be related to his excessive steroid use throughout most of his professional career. He admitted to spending up to $30,000 annually on steroids and felt during the last year of his life that it was the cause of his failing immune system and his brain tumor. He spent much of his remaining months lecturing to youth across the country and making public appearances for the National Steroid Education program sponsored by the Athletes and Entertainers for Kid's Health organization. Whether or not steroids actually killed Mr. Alzado, there is no doubt that anabolic steroids and human growth hormone preparations used by athletes for strength enhancement damage their immune system. It also increases the risk enormously of liver cancer which is usually fatal. Prostate cancer has also been linked to such steroid use.

As a society, we need to change the emphasis of "success at all costs" which pushes young people to want to risk the dangers of steroids for an edge in sports competitions. For young weight lifters who simply want to be the biggest guy in the gym, we need to encourage them to build their bodies naturally for true health. Being the size God wanted him to be through good healthy exercise and wise weight control and weight lifting is far superior than rapid weight and muscle building through the use of steroids. No short term gain is worth killing yourself for. We must get this message across to our youth before it's too late and their lives have been forever damaged. The American Academy of Pediatrics has been encouraging teachers and coaches and athletes in all fields to educate young people as to the dangers of anabolic steroids for the past ten years. Mr. Alzado's recent death is just another reminder of the important goal of that worthy campaign. Let us all continue to campaign and help redirect our youth toward good health practices and clean honest living.