Anabolics and heart disease

Anabolic steroids cause damage to your heart.

Think about it? If anabolics steriods increase muscle mass than why wouldn’t they also enlarge this vital organ which in and of itself one big muscle.

Damian, a 29-year-old bodyguard at a gay club is an active steroid user. He was recently diagnosed with HIV when he was admitted to the hospital for pneumonia. His labs showed elevated liver enzymes. Also noted were an increase in his heart rate and blood pressure, attributed at first, to the infectious process taking precedence over his body. Later when his fever, cough and shortness of breath resolved with antibiotics, his blood pressure and heart rate remained elevated.

A 2-D Echocardiogram found: severe left ventricular dysfunction with an ejection fraction (EF) of 35% (normal EF is 55 to 75 %), and an enlarged left ventricle with mitral and tricuspic regurgitation.

Anabolics are often used in patients with HIV to sustain or increase muscle mass secondary to wasting. Recreational use of anabolic steroids exposes the body to superphysiological doses, which can have devastating and irreversible effects on the heart, kidney and liver.

Damian has a five-year old son. I asked him to consider how difficult it was going to be to throw a football around with his kid in five years with his current ejection fraction?

Gaines Adams, an All-American defensive end in the NFL with Chicago and Tampa Bay, died  after going into cardiac arrest at Self Regional Hospital. He was 26. Autopsy results are pending. Most cases of sudden cardiac death, in otherwise healthy athletes, is often due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Of course, when any young adult dies toxicology reports are necessary at autopsy.

I’ve seen several cases of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy secondary to anabolic steroids. I’ve actually held one in my hand after the trauma team opened up the chest of an Italian male at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Paterson, New Jersey, (no he wasn’t a cast member of the Jersey Shore), when he fell off his motorcycle and died from trauma to the chest. Unfortunately, anabolics do not enlarge brain mass. Maybe if they did, he would have worn his helmet.

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