Young Men’s Use of Steroids Linked to Heart Disease

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Young men wanting to build muscle need to know that as tempting as steroids may appear, their use comes at a very high price. The substances are illegal in most countries, but men preoccupied with achieving a certain physical appearance may think the risk is worth it. A recent study finds that abusing steroids can increase a young man’s risk for developing heart disease and abuse of other drugs, a practice referred to as polypharmacy.

The study was conducted through the University of New South Wales’ National Drug and Alcohol Research Center, together with the New South Wales Department of Forensic Medicine. Researchers from these institutions looked into the deaths of 24 men ages 22-48 which were linked to steroid use. The average age at death was 32 years.

Half of the young men’s deaths were at least partly the result of severe heart disease. Every man in the study had used steroids, most of them testosterone, but it was not true that steroid use had directly brought about their death.

Polypharmacy was another significant and deadly problem, with 23 of the 24 men studied having used multiple substances:

  • 66.7 percent of them had used psychostimulants
  • 45.8 percent of the men had used benzodiazepines
  • 37.5 percent had taken opioids
  • 25 percent had used alcohol
  • More than 54 percent had recently used intravenous drugs
  • There were seven deaths due to opioid overdose
  • 16 deaths were the result of a deadly mix of drugs combined with a weakened heart.

Homicide or suicide was responsible for six of the deaths.

The study’s lead researcher commented that his research contributes to a growing body of evidence showing how men who use steroids often use multiple drugs. The study was helpful in identifying the combination of steroids and psychostimulants as particularly harmful to cardiac health.

Nearly without exception the men in the study exhibited classic symptoms of steroid abuse. Things like oversized muscles and atrophied testicles are common side effects. Testicular atrophy can also lead to problems associated with reproduction. Young, otherwise healthy men, who abuse steroids can experience multiple physical side effects including heart damage that can affect them for a lifetime.

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