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Science / Medicine : Steroids Linked to Heart Attack

February 19, 1990|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Men who use steroids to pump up their bodies may be increasing their risk of heart attacks and strokes at an early age, a researcher warned last week. The potential of the drugs to cause blood clots and blocked arteries may represent an "underreported and underappreciated" risk, according to a Michigan State University physician who said steroids have been linked to several heart attacks and strokes among young men.

In a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Gary Ferenchick described the case of a 22-year-old college athlete in Michigan who died of a heart attack. An autopsy showed two of his coronary arteries were blocked.

A police investigation revealed that the man--a weightlifter--had been using androgenic steroids, which build up body and muscle mass, Ferenchick said. He said an examination showed the man's blood had clotted in a manner that apparently led to the artery blockage and may be linked to the steroids.

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