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JRPMS Vol 2, No 1, March 2018, p.22-30

doi: 10.22540/JRPMS-02-022


Review Article

The multiple roles of steroids and anabolic steroids and its relations to cardiovasular and musculoskeletal pathology: a brief review

Margarita Theodorakidou, Olti-Alexandra Nikola, George I. Lambrou

  • First Department of Pediatrics, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Choremeio Research Laboratory, Haematology and Oncology Unit, Athens, Greece

Keywords: Corticosteroids, Anabolic steroids, Cardiovascular, Musculoskeletal


Steroids are defined as compounds included in the family of terpenoid lipids. Specifically, anabolic steroids are synthetic steroids of the androgen steroids. Since the beginning of the 20th century, anabolic steroids have proven influence on physical strength, endurance and muscle tissue synthesis. They have been used both for military purposes as well as for athletic achievements. Their use has been expended thereafter up to the point that side-effects began to become apparent. To date, it is well documented that anabolic steroids have adverse side effects on the primary and secondary sex characteristics. Steroids attribute male characteristics to females, and, at the same time, sterility and erection dysfunctions to males. Several studies have shown that the use of anabolic steroids is connected to dysfunctions of the cardiovascular system. No direct adverse effects have been reported on the function of cardiovascular system during the use of anabolic steroids, however, it has been shown that there is an indirect connection between anabolic steroids and cardiovascular disease. Steroids elevate levels of cholesterol and triglycerides which both are related to high risk of cardiovascular disease. The present work reviews the hitherto known connections between steroids in general, both synthetic and naturally occurring to the risk or not of cardiovascular disease.