Then there are the cardiovascular problems. Because of the way they affect heart cells, anabolic steroids can cause chronic high blood pressure, as well as enlargement of the heart. Your cholesterol levels also get thrown out of balance, since your steroid-saturated body is producing more LDL cholesterol and less HDL cholesterol , which is the opposite of what the American Heart Association recommends. The hormonal effects of steroid use also increase your risk of prostate cancer (if you’re male) and can cause kidney and liver damage.
Many abusers who inject anabolic steroids may use nonsterile injection techniques or share contaminated needles with other abusers. In addition, some steroid preparations are manufactured illegally under nonsterile conditions. These factors put abusers at risk for acquiring lifethreatening viral infections, such as HIV and hepatitis B and C. Abusers also can develop endocarditis, a bacterial infection that causes a potentially fatal inflammation of the inner lining of the heart. Bacterial infections also can cause pain and abscess formation at injection sites.