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More young males risking heart health through steroid misuse

Wednesday 20th December 2017
A growing number of young males are risking their long-term health and even their lives due to steroid abuse, medical experts are warning. Image: VladOrlov via iStock
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Thousands of people in the UK are potentially putting their cardiovascular health at serious risk due to steroid misuse and may even be increasing their risk of a fatal heart attack.

The British Cardiovascular Society is warning males in their teens and 20s in particular of the health risks associated with steroid abuse - something experts believe may be on the up due to the rise in fitness inspiration photos posted on image-sharing platform Instagram.

Only doctors are legally allowed to supply people with steroids, but up to tens of thousands of people are believed to be accessing them illegally in order to appear more muscly.

Speaking to BBC's Newsbeat, anabolic steroid misuse expert Jim McVeigh explained: "We're seeing now a different population of steroid users, predominantly young men who are using purely for cosmetic purposes.

"Whenever you see a man with his shirt off on TV, the chances are he'll have a well-defined physique. This is something women have had to deal with for generations, but this is quite a new thing for men."

However, the potential risks associated with long-term steroid abuse include strokes and heart attacks, as well as mood swings and even infertility. This means that people could be risking their futures and even their entire lives by misusing steroids or accessing them illegally.

What's more, long-term abuse of steroids can lead to erectile dysfunction and shrunken testicles, which many males may not be aware of. If cosmetic vanity is behind their reason for taking them in the first place, knowing this could be a particularly effective way to put them off.

Therefore, with this rise in steroids' popularity, doctors should be prepared to inform their patients of the health risks associated with taking them, and question where they have got the drugs from.

Letting patients know the safest ways to take steroids and how long they should be used for, as well as advising on the other lifestyle changes that could lead to a more toned physique, could go some way towards ending this rising steroid misuse problem.

Written by Mathew Horton

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