Steroids & Blood vessels
Can steroids damage blood vessels?
All kind of steroids whether corticosteroids, contraceptives, anabolic steroids affect cardiovascular health. They may have certain benefits and harms. Since all these substances are approved for medical use, including anabolic steroids, it means that generally, they are safe enough for regular use. Nonetheless, knowing the complete safety profile is essential, especially if you plan to use steroids for long.
Studies show that prolonged use of corticosteroids may lead to the reduced working of the heart. Steroids may also affect the blood flow, its viscosity, and may also influence blood pressure. Thus, they may also sometimes have a damaging effect on the blood vessels.
Here are some of the possible cardiovascular effects of anabolic steroids:
- Anabolic steroids cause hypertrophy of cardiac muscles; it means that heart muscles become thick. This has many adverse effects on heart health. It increases the risk of various heart diseases including heart attack. Further, thickened muscles are not able to relax well, which, over-the-time, results in reduced cardiac output.
- Anabolic steroids may increase blood pressure a bit in some individuals. Although this rise in blood pressure is minimal, it may cause harm to the blood vessels if steroids are used for a very long time.
- Anabolic steroids make blood sticky, and they also increase platelet aggregation. All this means that a person taking anabolic steroids is at higher risk of blocked blood vessels when compared to the general population. Steroids also affect blood coagulation and fibrinolytic pathway, meaning that blood forms clots faster. All this increases risk of damage to the blood vessels, and heart attack.
- Anabolic steroids seem to have a negative effect on the elasticity of blood vessels. It means an increased risk of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases in the long run.
- There is enough evidence to support that anabolic steroids also affect lipid profile unfavorably. They may increase levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) and reduce the levels of HDL (good cholesterol). All this increases the risk of heart attack over the time.
- There is some evidence that anabolic steroids may also influence heart rhythm, and increase the risk of arrhythmia. How it happens is still not clear to the researchers.
- Anabolic steroids seem to have some direct adverse effect on coronary arteries; it means a higher risk of heart disease.
- Anabolic steroids also weaken walls of blood vessels and thus increasing the risk of their rupture. Studies indicate that anabolic steroids are an independent risk factor for abdominal aortic aneurism (damage of abdominal aorta). Something that is not related to other risk factors like atherosclerosis.
So many side effects may sound bit alarming. However, it is essential to know that these side effects occur only in a tiny number of cases and that too only after years or abuse.
By abuse we mean when a person continues to use anabolic steroids or decades together, without taking a break — never being “off” the steroids — neither using post cycle therapy or other precautionary measures.
However, with the right kind of knowledge and proper use, none of these side effects would occur.