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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- 904.

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 Sep;8(3):129-38.

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 May;35(1):27-31.

by Trent Tschirgi, R. Ph. (c) 1992 University of Maryland Office of Substance Abuse Studies. All Rights Reserved.

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Disclaimer: The information presented is intended to be used for educational purposes only. The statements made have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (U.S.). These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any condition or disease. Please consult with your own physician or health care practitioner regarding any suggestions and recommendations made.