Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Long-term anabolic steroid use may weaken heart more than previously thought

Date:
April 28, 2010
Source:
American Heart Association
Summary:
Long-term anabolic steroid use may weaken the heart more than previously thought, a new study finds. Steroid-related heart impairment is severe enough to potentially increase the risk of heart failure. The left ventricle, the heart muscle primarily responsible for pumping blood throughout the body, was significantly weaker among steroid users.

Long-term anabolic steroid use may weaken the heart more than previously thought and may increase the risk of heart failure, according to research reported in Circulation: Heart Failure, an American Heart Association journal.

Related Articles


Anabolic-androgenic steroids mimic the naturally occurring testosterone, a muscle-building hormone that promotes male sexual characteristics.

"Anabolic steroids, in addition to being illegal, have important health consequences," said Aaron L. Baggish, M.D., lead author of the study and instructor in the Department of Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. "I think for the first time we're starting to realize that the heart is one of the organs that is negatively impacted by long-term steroid use."

In the small study, investigators found that the left ventricle, the heart's main pumping chamber, was significantly weaker during contraction (systolic function) in participants who had taken steroids compared to a group of similar non-steroid users.

A healthy left ventricle pumps out 55 percent to 70 percent of the blood that fills the heart (a measurement known as ejection fraction). Eighty-three percent of steroid users in the 12-person study had a low pumping capacity (ejection fraction less than 55 percent) that previous studies have linked to increased risk of heart failure and sudden cardiac death. In contrast, only one of the non-steroid users had a low ejection fraction.

Steroid users also exhibited impaired diastolic function, which is when the left ventricle relaxes and fills with blood. The researchers showed that ventricle relaxation among steroid users, as demonstrated by the left ventricle's ratio of early-to-late blood filling, was reduced by almost half (0.93 compared with 1.80 among non-users). The left ventricle's structure was similar in both steroid-users and non-users.

Baggish and his co-investigators used a technique known as Doppler echocardiography to examine the left ventricle's function and structure. The test uses high-frequency sound waves, or ultrasound, to create moving pictures of the heart and its blood flow.

The steroid-using group included 12 male weight lifters, average age 40, who reported taking about 675 milligrams of steroids per week for nine years. The control group was seven age-matched, male weight lifters who reported no steroid exposure. Both groups had similar durations of past and current weight lifting and other physical activity, as well as similar cardiac risk factors other than steroid use. Although the users and non-users had comparable body-mass indices and body-surface areas, the steroid users had more muscle mass than the non-users.

Despite the small sample size, the statistically significant differences in heart function suggest a strong link between steroid use and heart impairment, said investigators who are conducting further studies to confirm their findings.

In previous studies, the precise effects of steroid use on heart dysfunction have been unclear. Part of the problem with conducting studies of steroid-related heart injury is that illegal anabolic steroid use is relatively recent. In the United States, these drugs first became widespread among athletes in the 1980s; so many steroid users from that era are now reaching the age when heart problems often surface.

"What we hope is that people start recognizing steroid use as a potential cause of heart disease and a cause of otherwise unexplained heart dysfunction in young people," Baggish said.

Co-authors are: Rory B. Weiner, M.D.; Gen Kanayama, M.D., Ph.D.; James I. Hudson, M.D.; Sc.D.; Michael H. Picard, M.D.; Adolph M. Hutter, Jr., M.D.; and Harrison G. Pope, Jr., M.D.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Heart Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Aaron L. Baggish, Rory B. Weiner, Gen Kanayama, James I. Hudson, Michael H. Picard, Adolph M. Hutter Jr., and Harrison G. Pope Jr. Long Term Anabolic-Androgenic Steroid Use is Associated with Left Ventricular Dysfunction. Circulation: Heart Failure, 2010; DOI: 10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.109.931063

Cite This Page:

American Heart Association. "Long-term anabolic steroid use may weaken heart more than previously thought." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100427171802.htm>.
American Heart Association. (2010, April 28). Long-term anabolic steroid use may weaken heart more than previously thought. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100427171802.htm
American Heart Association. "Long-term anabolic steroid use may weaken heart more than previously thought." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100427171802.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Need another reason to eat yogurt every day? Researchers now say it could reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

AFP (Nov. 24, 2014) — Madagascar said Monday it is trying to contain an outbreak of plague -- similar to the Black Death that swept Medieval Europe -- that has killed 40 people and is spreading to the capital Antananarivo. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins