What effects do anabolic steroids have on the blood vessels?
Steroid abuse leads to hardening of the arteries early in life: High-dose anabolic users have decreased elastin and increased collagen in the walls of their blood vessels.(1) This stiffens the arterial walls. For reasons that are not well understood, the body responds to its own testosterone differently than it responds to male hormones from other sources.(2) For example, testosterone made by the body decreases cholesterol in the blood, while anabolic steroids from outside the body increase cholesterol.(2) Anabolic steroids from outside the body decrease the amount of HDL and increase the amount of LDL and triglycerides in the blood.(2-5) This raises the amount of cholesterol in the blood.(1,6,7) Blood levels of HDL, LDL and triglycerides gradually return to normal after steroids are stopped.(3-5) However, continuous steroid abuse maintains blood conditions that harden the arteries and lead to heart attacks.(7,8)
1. Ferenchick GS. Anabolic androgenic steroid abuse and
thrombosis - is there a connection. Med Hypoth 1991
2. Gutai J, LaPorte R, Kuller L, Dai W, Falvo-Gerard L, Caggiula
A. Plasma testosterone, high density lipoprotein cholesterol
and other lipoprotein fractions. Am J Cardiol 1981
3. Moffatt RJ, Wallace MB, Sady SP. Effects of anabolic steroids
on lipoprotein profiles of female weight lifters. Physician
And Sportsmedicine 1990 Sep;18(9):106-0.
4. Baldoenzi G, Giada F, Zuliani G, Baroni L, Vitale E, Enzi G,
Magnanini P, Fellin R. Lipid and apoprotein modifications in
body builders during and after self-administration of anabolic
steroids. Metabolism Clinical And Experimental 1990
5. Frohlich J, Kullmer T, Urhausen A, Bergmann R, Kindermann W.
Lipid profile of body builders with and without self-
administration of anabolic steroids. European Journal Of
Applied Physiology And Occupational Physiology 1989 Sep;59(1-
6. Wilson JD. Androgen abuse by athletes. Endocrine Reviews
7. Bowman S. Anabolic steroids and infarction. British Medical
Journal 1990 Mar 17;300(6726):750.
8. Lorimer DA, Hart LL. Cardiac dysfunction in athletes receiving
anabolic steroids. DICP Ann Pharmacother 1990 Nov;24(11):1060-
by Trent Tschirgi, R. Ph.
(c) 1992 University of Maryland Office of Substance Abuse Studies.
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