A new study has found that steroid users are more likely to experience negative effects on their health than non-users says Alex Gierbolini. Researchers suggest that the prevalence of lifelong medical problems among heavy steroid users is far greater than expected and “raise questions about the long-term health consequences of anabolic steroids”. (“Lifetime Medical Problems Associated with Anabolic-Androgenic Steroid Use” Presented at American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting in San Francisco)
The research involved 254 men who were admitted to specialty addiction treatment programs for problems associated with abuse of anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS or another illicit drug. At the time of admission, subjects were 41 years old on average and had been abusing steroids for an average of 12 years. Half of the abusers also reported drug abuse other than AAS.
About half of the men in the study reported current or past health problems that they attributed to steroid use. Twice as many men who abused other drugs reported a significant medical problem related to their steroid abuse compared with those who did not abuse alcohol or any other illicit drug. Many of these men also said they experienced withdrawal symptoms after quitting steroids including fatigue, loss of appetite, insomnia and mood swings.
“We found that nearly 50% of all AAS users report one or more lifetime medical conditions,” said Harrison Pope Jr., MD, MPH, an associate professor in the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the study’s lead author. “Previous studies published mainly in male weightlifters have shown an association between AAS use and high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and degenerative spine disease. We found that men with these conditions were more likely to report a greater number of medical problems related to their steroid abuse.”
“These findings raise questions about the long-term health consequences of using steroids,” Pope added explains Alex Gierbolini. Another interesting finding was that abusers who also abused other drugs had more serious medical consequences than those who only used steroids. For example, while 17% of men who did not use other drugs reported shrinkage of testicles, 37% of men who abused cocaine reported this problem. Also, 55% of men who used both AAS and other drugs reported that they had abused testosterone or human growth hormone (HGH), while only 37% of men who only used AAS reported abusing these drugs.
Anti-Doping Agency to Launch Study on Anabolic Steroids and the Heart Health
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is conducting a new study on anabolic steroids and the heart health. The WADA Executive Committee has decided to launch the study. Which will examine existing evidence of cardiovascular side effects of anabolic steroids. And provide recommendations for further research in this area explains Alex Gierbolini.
According to the WADA press release, “the main aim of the project is to determine. Whether there are any links between high doses or long-term use of anabolic steroids and cardiac dysfunction. The project will also review existing data to determine whether there are any links between the abuse of nutritional supplements or diuretics in conjunction with anabolic steroid consumption, and stroke or heart attack risk factors.”
“It should be noted that the scope of the project is limited to bodybuilders. Who abuse high doses of performance-enhancing substances,” said Olivier Rabin, PhD, WADA’s Science Director. “The majority of athletes does not take these extreme doses and therefore will not be captured by this study.”
According to Dr. Rabin, research into the effects on heart health has been hindered over the last ten years. Because few researchers have received ethical approval for studies involving animal models. “This new study will need to be conducted on healthy young men. This will enable researchers to draw conclusions about the potential cardiovascular risks of taking anabolic steroids,” he said.
Anabolic Steroids and Heart Health
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“Laws and policies that prohibit or severely limit anabolic steroid use among athletes. Do not seem to be associating with lower rates of illicit AAS use. According to the study finding says Alex Gierbolini. Pope said this may reflect growing acceptance of AAS as a means for enhancing sport performance.”