Steroids grow in popularity
New Zealand men are taking steroids in growing numbers to get the perfect body, but appear unaware of the dangers.
"These are generally males 20 to 40 who are wanting to look good, rather than elite athletes looking for edge in performance," Dr Emma Lawrey told the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine, in Queenstown on Monday.
"They may not be aware that steroids can be dangerous."
Dr Lawrey says the seizure of such drugs coming into New Zealand has increased five-fold since 2008.
"Over the last two years we've seen hundreds of packages of performance enhancing drugs picked up annually, over half of which are androgenic anabolic steroids."
Steroid users increase their risk of heart attack, upper limb tendon rupture and liver disease.
Dr Lawrey also told the conference long-term steroid use may result in neurodegeneration (such as dementia or Parkinson's disease) as users age.
A recent survey of male gym-goers in Kuwait found 70 percent didn't believe it was possible to get a good body without using steroids.
Only 18 percent of those surveyed were able to accurately describe the adverse effects of steroid use.