What effects do anabolic steroids have on the blood?
Anabolic steroids may cause clotting factors in the blood
("platelets") to decrease in number.(1-4)
During a normal day, the body undergoes stress and minor damage.
Athletic training produces somewhat more damage. This stress
causes many minor internal leaks in the circulatory system.
Usually, there are no visible signs of this internal damage,
although an extensive leakage may show up as a bruise. Platelets
are responsible for sealing off these leaks so that the circulatory
system can continue to function. Steroid abuse is associated with
connective tissue injuries.(3)
Steroids also appear to cause the remaining platelets to clump
together more easily.(4) This condition is known medically
as "hyperaggregability," and can lead to blood clot formation,
producing strokes, heart attacks and possibly death.(4-6)
1. Chang MC, Berkery D, Laychock SG, Schuel H. Reduction of the
fertilizing capacity of sea urchin sperm by cannabinoids
derived from marihuana. Biochemical Pharmacol 1991;42(4):899-
2. Johnson MD. Steroids. Adolescent Med 1991 Feb;2(1):79-93.
3. Yesalis CE, Wright JE, Bahrke MS. Epidemiological and policy
issues in the measurement of the long term health effects of
anabolic-androgenic steroids. Sports Medicine 1989
4. Ferenchick G, Schwartz D, Ball M, Schwartz K. Androgenic-
anabolic steroid abuse and platelet aggregation - a pilot
study in weight lifters. American Journal Of The Medical
Sciences 1992 Feb;303(2):78-82.
5. Frankle MA, Eichberg R, Zachariah SB. Anabolic androgenic
steroids and a stroke in an athlete: case report. Arch Phys
Med Rehabil 1988 Aug;69:632-3.
6. Ferenchick GS. Anabolic androgenic steroid abuse and
thrombosis - is there a connection. Med Hypoth 1991
by Trent Tschirgi, R. Ph.
(c) 1992 University of Maryland Office of Substance Abuse Studies.
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