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Steroidhormone that increases tissue growth. Anabolic steroids are given to promote muscle growth and tissue regeneration in, for example, elderly or postoperative patients. Unsupervised use by athletes to build muscle and improve strength can have serious harmful effects, including coronary heart disease, sexual and reproductive disorders, immunodeficiencies, liver damage, stunted growth, aggressive behaviour, susceptibility to connective-tissue injury, and (in females) irreversible masculinization.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on anabolic steroid, visit Britannica.com.