Wednesday, July 23, 2014 – By Dr. Sapna Parikh
NEW YORK (WABC) — It’s a problem that’s commonly associated with pro sports, like baseball or cycling, but doping is becoming a bigger issue on amateur teams, too.
Among teenagers, use of HGH has doubled in the past year and that has a lot of people concerned.
In a new confidential survey of more than 3,700 high school students, 11% say they used synthetic human growth hormone or HGH at least once.
That’s more than double the 5% in earlier surveys.
The teens report using the drug not only to boost athletic performance but to improve looks.
“The more we get into the looks, the media, the actresses it’s sending out signs in society we have to look a certain image,” said Maria Hau-Vizcaino.
As director of sports rehabilitation at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Dr. Robert Gotlin is not surprised by the new numbers.
“Now we have new reports new data to show it’s real so parents guardians teachers coaches have to be more aware,” he said.
Growth hormone is used medically to treat patients with short stature, but when abused, it comes with risks.
“These are things like like diabetes , sugar control problems high blood pressure cardiac problems bone growth problems (these are real problems- a predisposition to cancer),” he adds.
A quick Google search reveals a huge array of HGH products available to teens online. But keep in mind supplements are not regulated by the government
So that means it’s impossible to even know exactly what’s in the products and what the real health consequences may be.
In 2003, the suicide of a Texas teenager was blamed on the use of anabolic steroids. Through a foundation in his honor, his father aims to stop the use of performance enhancing drugs among teens.
“As a parent who lost a child every parent that is listening or watching needs to understand that this is a problem affecting every category of kid,” said Don Hooton.