News | Cardiac Diagnostics | July 01, 2016

Anabolic Steroid Abuse May Increase Arrhythmia, Stroke Risk

Study shows that people with the inherited heart condition ARVC could be at particular risk

anabolic steroid abuse, ARVC, arrhythmia, stroke, British Cardiovascular Society conference

July 1, 2016 — Research has already shown that taking anabolic steroids is associated with high blood pressure and an increased risk of developing heart conditions such as left ventricular hypertrophy.

Now research, part-funded by the British Heart Foundation and presented at this year’s British Cardiovascular Society conference, June 6-8 in Manchester, England, has shown that for some people misusing steroids can be particularly dangerous.

A team of researchers from the University of Birmingham (U.K.) have found evidence to suggest that, when taken by people with the inherited heart condition arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC), steroids could lead to changes in heart muscle structure and problems with the heart’s electrical signals. These changes would then increase the likelihood that people taking steroids would suffer from atrial fibrillation, an abnormal heart rhythm disorder which is itself a major cause of stroke.

ARVC is caused by a mutation in one or more genes responsible for producing the proteins that hold the heart muscle together. The researchers gave dihydrotestosterone, an anabolic steroid commonly used to enhance athletic performance, to mice with a deficiency in one of these same proteins.

They found that, in these hearts, the electrical signal that tells the heart when to beat travelled around the heart more slowly than usual. This slowing down of electrical activity put these hearts at greater risk of dangerous abnormal heart rhythms, such as atrial fibrillation.

It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of people in the United Kingdom have used anabolic steroids for non-medical purposes in their lifetime. Anabolic steroids are prescription-only medicines that are sometimes taken without medical advice to increase muscle mass and improve athletic performance. If used in this way, they can cause serious side effects and addiction.

Larissa Fabritz, senior author and reader in cardiovascular sciences at the University of Birmingham, said, “With one in every five men joining a gym in the U.K. using performance-enhancing anabolic steroids the misuse of steroids is fast becoming an emerging global health problem. Our results show that the misuse of steroids could explain why seemingly healthy individuals are suffering from serious heart problems.”

Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said, “This study reinforces the evidence that using anabolic steroids can have untoward and possibly dangerous side effects, particularly in those who, often unknowingly, have heart problems.”

For more information: www.bcs.com/conference

Related Content

Study Shows Multiple Benefits of Patient-to-Patient Connectivity in Familial Chylomicronemia Syndrome
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | August 07, 2018
Akcea Therapeutics Inc., an affiliate of Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc., announced the publication of results from the...
Being Overweight May Change Young Adults' Heart Structure, Function
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | August 03, 2018
Even as a young adult, being overweight may cause higher blood pressure and thicken heart muscle, setting the stage for...
High Intensity Exercise in Teenagers Could Ward Off Heart Disease

Ultrasound image of the carotid artery. Lines in yellow were used to determine arterial diameter and stretching before and following exercise.

News | Cardiac Diagnostics | July 16, 2018
New research published in Experimental Physiology has indicated potential differences in heart health benefits of...
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | June 14, 2018
A team of researchers says it has linked sensitivity to an allergen in red meat to the buildup of plaque in the...
The blood of patients with familial chylomicronemia syndrome (FCS) can appear milky in color (lipemic) due to the buildup of fat in their body. Image courtesy of Akcea Therapeutics.

The blood of patients with familial chylomicronemia syndrome (FCS) can appear milky in color (lipemic) due to the buildup of fat in their body. Image courtesy of Akcea Therapeutics.

 

Feature | Cardiac Diagnostics | May 07, 2018 | Steven D. Freedman, M.D., Ph.D.
 
Male Triathletes May Be Putting Their Heart Health at Risk
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | January 09, 2018
Competitive male triathletes face a higher risk of a potentially harmful heart condition called myocardial fibrosis,...
ERT Acquires iCardiac Technologies
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | December 19, 2017
ERT recently announced it has acquired iCardiac Technologies, a provider of centralized cardiac safety and respiratory...
Overlay Init