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02-03-2013, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Ozymandias View Post
Not to mention that excessive training which is the everyday life of high level professional athletes until they retire, is already pretty bad for long term health (and memory; the vicious circle of glucocorticoid regulation by the hippocampus), as glucocorticoid, epinephrine and nor-epinephrine levels are constantly higher throughout their adult life compared to the average human, shortening their lifespans, or at the very least opening a floodgate of ailments in the latter years of their life, adding performance enhancing drugs is just asking for additional trouble, further escalating the potential decline and deterioration.
Professional athletes are well adapted to higher training stress. Their schedule allows for rest, recovery and they have health professionals at their disposal. They also benefit from a long off-season year to year and an early retirement. They have much lower prevalence of the main diseases that drag the average lifespan down: diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol, they don't smoke -> their cardiovascular and pulmonary health are much higher. Those higher e and ne levels I wouldn't say are significant, if they were you'd see these athletes eventually develop heart failure and other diseases at higher rates (and I don't mean athletes that die from cocaine/stimulant induced heart attacks or who had unknown congenital anomalies). It's true also that some athletes can be debilitated by overtraining and higher cortisol levels, but this is rare and happens in highly trained Olympic athletes. High level exercise is a pretty significant protector against almost every side effect from glucocorticoids (diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis), especially slightly above average levels for only part of the persons lifespan (say from entering junior leagues to the end of his NHL career). I mean athletes aren't getting compression fractures, diabetes, fat gains or seizures left and right. I've seen studies confirming a higher lifespan, but the conclusion was the lower cardiovascular risk, which makes sense since with cancer, it's the biggest killer.

As far steroids, in hockey, it would make sense to get to their optimal playing weight and strength levels. But I don't see them cycling outside of the off-season or for more than a limited amount of years. Test makes sense, but at the quality they get, and with the health support surrounding them, the deleterious effects probably aren't that bad long term. About EPO, unlike mentionned previously, poor control can be very lethal (blood clots).

The one thing athletes are really predisposed to is osteoarthritis due to their injuries.

What I find is a shame in drugs in general is some people just plain respond better to them. And some athletes just plain have a better drug regimen. So the playing field isn't leveled if everyone is taking them. But then again, some people would say the playing field wasn't level the minute we're born since some people are just born with more talent.

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