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Long-term anabolic steroid use linked to damage to heart and arteries

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May 23, 2017

Word steroids spelled out with pills next to a 3D representation of the human heart©shutterstock.com/Pivot/©istock.com/Eraxion/

New research funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found that long-term exposure to anabolic-androgenic steroids may be associated with substantial impairment of the heart, including a reduction in pumping performance and damage to the arteries.

The observational study assessed a sample of male weightlifters age 34-54, comparing men who used anabolic steroids with non-users. Seventy-one percent of the steroid users had impairment of their heart’s ability to pump blood efficiently, compared to non-users, who had largely normal blood pumping capability. In addition, users had significantly higher coronary plaque volume than non-users. The authors suggest that long-term anabolic steroid use may represent a clinically substantial and largely unrecognized public health problem. The study indicates the need for improved awareness among clinicians who can discuss the potential adverse cardiovascular effects of steroids with patients and provide referrals to interventions as needed.

For a copy of the paper — "Cardiovascular Toxicity of Illicit Anabolic-Androgenic Steroid Use" — published in Circulation, go to: http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/135/21/1991.

For information about anabolic steroids, go to: https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/steroids-anabolic.

For more information, contact the NIDA press office at media@nida.nih.gov or 301-443-6245. Follow NIDA on Twitter and Facebook.

Contact:
NIDA Press Office
301-443-6245
media@nida.nih.gov

About the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports most of the world’s research on the health aspects of drug use and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to inform policy, improve practice, and advance addiction science. Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs and information on NIDA research and other activities can be found at www.drugabuse.gov, which is now compatible with your smartphone, iPad or tablet. To order publications in English or Spanish, call NIDA’s DrugPubs research dissemination center at 1-877-NIDA-NIH or 240-645-0228 (TDD) or email requests to drugpubs@nida.nih.gov. Online ordering is available at drugpubs.drugabuse.gov. NIDA’s media guide can be found at www.drugabuse.gov/publications/media-guide/dear-journalist, and its easy-to-read website can be found at www.easyread.drugabuse.gov. You can follow NIDA on Twitter and Facebook.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

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    NIDA. (2017, May 23). Long-term anabolic steroid use linked to damage to heart and arteries. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/news-releases/2017/05/long-term-anabolic-steroid-use-linked-to-damage-to-heart-arteries

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