Anabolic Androgenic Steroids Abuse Can Cause Coronary Artery Disease

Anabolic Androgenic Steroids Abuse Can Cause Coronary Artery Disease

Between November 3 and 5 the annual Brazilian Society of Cardiology took place in Sao Paulo with the purpose of discussing cardiology, new findings and programs that appeared in the past year. During the 2017 edition a connection between early coronary artery disease and anabolic androgenic steroids was found.

The report was presented by lead author Francis Ribeiro de Souzo, a PhD student at the University of Sao Paulo’s Heart Institute, Medical School. He explained the impact of anabolic androgenic steroid abuse on the hearts of patients participating in the study group. He declared that these enhancements are a huge problem among young people, leading to various adverse events like heart attack and sudden cardiac death, especially in athletes. In the country of Brazil it is estimated that close to 1 million people utilized such steroids a minimum of one time, making this the seventh most common of the drugs used in the country.

The Study

The report did not just examine steroids for sale and whether or not they are connected with the offset of early coronary artery disease. It also tested reduced HDL (high-density lipoprotein) function to see if it can be a mechanism that leads to the development of coronary artery disease for people that abuse the steroids.

The results of the study included 51 men aged between 23 and 43. Out of them, 21 of those consistently took steroids while going through weight lifting routines, 20 did the routines without the steroids and the rest lived a sedentary lifestyle without any exercise or drug use. Computed tomography coronary angiography was present for all participants. This is a specific imaging method that visualizes arteries in order to assess atherosclerosis presence.

Urine tests were performed in order to confirm the use of the steroids and blood samples were utilized to measure current lipid levels. This includes HDL. Researchers utilized cell cultures for the purpose of measuring individual participant body HDL ability to perform normal function (removing cholesterol found in white blood cells).

Data gathered concluded that 24% of the steroid users had coronary arteries affected by atherosclerosis. The sedentary participants and non-users had none. The steroid users that were affected by atherosclerosis also had a significantly reduced HDL function and level inside the body.

Ribeiro de Souza stated that the study is suggesting that the use of anabolic androgenic steroids is associated with coronary artery disease development in young people that are apparently healthy. He went on to say that steroids can have an impact on HDL ability so cholesterol is not removed from macrophages. This is promoting the development of atherosclerosis. The study was an observational one but the results have to be taken into account for the creation of a larger scale study in the future. Steroids were concluded to maybe cause atherosclerosis. Confirming the results is only possible with longer follow-ups in longer studies.

De Souza’s conclusion was that coronary atherosclerosis appeared in young users that used anabolic androgenic steroid use and when combined with low HDL levels and function, cardiovascular event risk is drastically increased. A greater awareness, he declared, is needed in order to analyze the drugs and the potential risks associated with them.

Study Impact

Most people in cardiology and participants at the congress found study findings to be fascinating. Scientific chair, DR. Raul Santos, said that the study does have a small sample size but is really well done so it calls attention to the possibility of the presence of a real health problem in the country and around the world. This is because it shows lipid disturbances that are induced by steroid use and links steroids with atherosclerosis presence, which is one thing that should not be the case for young people.

Fausto Pinto also made a statement, saying that the results of the study highlight the importance of this issue, deserving a further experimentation, preferably through large scale studies.


The results of this small scale study are really important for all young athletes, not just those that live in Brazil. For a long time it has been said that steroid use had the potential of leading towards the development of coronary diseases but there was no study that took into account effects on younger individuals. We take for granted the fact that steroid use is only going to affect those that are older but this may not be the case.

Before taking steroids in order to make gym gains it is really important to think about overall health impact. Are the risks worth it? Working with a personal trainer that recommends anabolic steroid use is a very bad idea so it is something that should be avoided, at least for now. Until new data is available through a larger study it is vital that no anabolic androgenic steroids are used.

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