A variety of side effects can occur when anabolic steroids are misused, ranging from mild effects to ones that are harmful or even life-threatening. Most are reversible if the user stops taking the drugs.
However, others may be permanent or semi-permanent. Most data on the long-term effects of anabolic steroids in humans come from case reports rather than formal epidemiological studies. Serious and life-threatening adverse effects may be underreported, especially since they may occur many years later.
One review found 19 deaths in published case reports related to anabolic steroid use between and ; however, many steroid users also used other drugs, making it difficult to show that the anabolic steroid use caused these deaths. Steroids contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease partly by increasing the level of low-density lipoprotein LDL 47 and decreasing the level of high-density lipoprotein HDL. If blood is prevented from reaching the heart or brain, the result can be a heart attack or stroke, respectively.
Anabolic steroid misuse
Steroids also increase the risk that blood clots will form in blood vessels, potentially disrupting blood flow and damaging the heart muscle, so that it does not pump blood effectively. Steroid use disrupts the normal production of hormones in the body.
Changes that can be reversed include decreased sperm production, 56—59 decreased function of the testes hypogonadism that le to low testosterone levels, 60 and shrinking of the testicles testicular atrophy.
In females, anabolic steroids cause masculinization. Specifically, breast size and body fat decrease, the skin becomes coarse, and the voice deepens.
Why people misuse anabolic steroids
It is commonly believed that anabolic steroids will produce irreversible enlargement of the clitoris in females, although there are no studies on this. Many people who inject anabolic steroids may use nonsterile injection techniques or share contaminated needles with other users.
This puts these steroid users at risk for acquiring life threatening viral infections, such as HIV and hepatitis B and C. Steroid misuse has been associated with liver damage, 50,51 tumors, 46,52,53 and a rare condition called peliosis hepatis, in which blood-filled cysts form in the liver. Rising levels of testosterone and other sex hormones normally trigger the growth spurt that occurs during puberty and adolescence.
These rising levels of testosterone also provide the als to stop growth. Evidence suggests that weightlifters who misuse anabolic steroids have stiffer tendons, which could lead to an increased risk for tendon injury.
Steroid misuse can cause acne, 70—72 hair loss on the head, cysts, and oily hair and skin. Anabolic steroids can also produce jaundice, or yellowing of the skin or eyes, as a result of damage to the liver.
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Research Report. Liver Steroid misuse has been associated with liver damage, 50,51 tumors, 46,52,53 and a rare condition called peliosis hepatis, in which blood-filled cysts form in the liver. Prev Next. February Cardiovascular system high blood pressure blood clots heart attacks stroke artery damage Hormonal system Men decreased sperm production enlarged breasts shrinking of the testicles male-pattern baldness testicular cancer Women voice deepening decreased breast size coarse skin excessive body hair growth male-pattern baldness.