Steroid Usage Can Still Negatively Affect Your Health Even After Decades Without Usage, Studies Show

Muscular man

When you’re young and looking for a way to improve your overall appearance, you can be easily pulled in by the promise of fast muscle gains through steroids. After all, they work, and while there can be consequences to frequently using steroids, we don’t really think about just how long-term they can be.

After all, doing something unwise and paying for it for a few years is one thing, but doing something unwise and still paying for it decades later is something else entirely.

This is especially true if you’ve made these unwise decisions while you’re young and are not well-informed of (or just don’t care about) the consequences, which can include a higher risk for heart attacks and strokes.

The hope is that once you stop taking steroids, then the side effects will stop as well, but that isn’t the case. Studies from the Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark have shown that by continuing to take synthetic hormones, you run the risk of damaging your health permanently.

In one such study revolved around 64 healthy men (aged 18 to 50) who regularly engaged in recreational strength training. 28 of these men were using anabolic steroids at the time, 22 were former anabolic steroid users, and 14 had never taken steroids before. Most of the former steroid users had stopped taking steroids for at least a year prior to the study.

The men were tested to see how much blood flowed into their hearts when resting and exercising. Those who had either stopped or were still on steroids had poorer blood flow to their hearts when compared to those who had never used.

The second study was a questionnaire, along with a blood test in order to measure their levels of testosterone, a hormone that men have an abundance of. This study included three groups of men (aged 18 to 50). Of the 180 men, 89 men were current anabolic steroid users at the time of the study, 61 were former users, and 30 had never taken steroids before. Around three-fourths of the former users had stopped using anabolic steroids for at least one year, while the rest had been without steroids for more than two years.

In the questionnaire, many former steroid users reported having worse health both physically and mentally. This included worse social and emotional functioning, as well as high levels of fatigue. They also happened to have lower levels of testosterone than men who had never used steroids in the first place.

It should be noted that these findings need to be considered preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed journal.

So, what’s the smartest thing athletes could do in this situation? It’s the obvious answer: don’t do steroids. If you happen to be on steroids, get off of them. If you are taking steroids, or you’ve taken them recently, and you’re experiencing health problems, you need to get them checked out. Just as well, be very open with your steroid usage with your doctor.

This is vital information for them to know, and if it happens that your steroid of choice is illegal where you live, you’re not going to get in trouble by disclosing this information to them. A firm scolding, maybe, but that’s about it. You need to do what’s right for your health.

In today’s age of social pressures and unrealistic bodies within the media, it’s becoming increasingly hard to dissuade young people from taking steroids. Many know the consequences, but are willing to delegate them to their future selves, or worse, think they’re immune entirely. They’re not.

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About George Allen

George Allen - Author - An AFPA Certified holistic and preventative nutrition professional. George is a well known exercise physiology and sports nutrition expert.
Syracuse University graduate: bachelor's degree in nutrition/dietetics (B.S.) and a master's degree in nutrition science with a concentration in counseling (M.A.).
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