T Nation

Do steroids cause heart attacks?


i was thinking about wrestler Bret "the hitman" hart & the british bulldog. both of them have had heart attacks & the bulldog died. would their steroid use be a cause, since most steroids result in thickening of the blood. would like to know everyone's opinion.


I dpn't know if casue is a good word, AAS use has raised my blood pressure in the past, usually BP goes back to normal in recvoery post cycle. Heart problems are the result of many different causes, diet, heridity, diabetes, etc,etc. So saying AAS use causes heart problems is a very broad stroke. I know my AAS use which is ultra moderate enables me to excerise and stay healthy and vigorious which helps my cardio system.


Salt causes heart attacks.

Smoking causes heart attacks.

Ice cream, milk and cheese cause heart attacks.

So, of course, steroids cause heart attacks.


No. Unless you are the fattest piece of shit in the world or have a cholestoral level comprable to a polar bear.


i suspect there were other factors at play. just like the "ultimate warrior". that was one jacked up mofo. there has been no evidence connecting steroids with heart disease of any kind. at least i havent read any in the 3 years i have been in the game. just speculation but things such as hgh which can cause organ enlargement may have been a factor. not to mention possible recreational drug use. has anyone seen any info on these deaths?


Reminds me of my ex-boss. He went to high school with Brett here in Calgary. In grade 10 he was small and skinny, even after significant training. After 3 months of summer vacation he same to school completely jacked. There are a lot of stories about him around town here, although I'm sure most are unsubstantiated. His family lives just down the road from me, but they are selling the old family house now that Stu is gone.

BTW, Brett had a stroke, not a heart attack, I think.


you need to also remember that these guys abuse their bodies year round, and as a result many use a lot of oain killers asid from just steroids. The human body can only take so much abuse, and wrestlers definitely abuse theirs as much if not more than most.


Bret Hart had a motorcycle accident, hit his head and that caused a stroke. British Bulldog was addicted to alcohol and pain killers. Have you read Cy Wilson's article in this week's issue? Read up and study about AAS. Don't believe everything you hear, believe what you can prove.


For some reason, this post brings the slogan "guns don't kill people, PEOPLE kill people" to mind.

I agree with most here when it's said that OTHER factors come into play when incorporating AAS. I know a few guys that pound back McDonald's and pop A-bombs to help gain weight. I'm guessing a super-sized Big Mac combo will have more of an effect on your heart than any combination of steroids.


Bret Hart got a stroke by falling off his mtn bike when he wasn't wearing a helmet -something he says he's going to warn children about in public service announcements.
So he's not the example you want to use.
(BTW, he had to have been on low dose cycles, prob enough to put on an extra 20 lbs or so. He was more athletic than "huge" or "jacked")

Like JT said, pro wrestlers use many drugs, esp, the 80s boys who lived a crazy party lifestyle along w/ roids, painkillers and alcohol. One of my idols, Curt Hennig aka Mr Perfect died last year and was known as a big partier. His best friend and another idol of mine, Rick RUde, died of a massive heart attack a few years ago but he wasn't known as a big partier. Bulldog was a big partier though, and juiced big-time.
All these guys were in their early 40s.

Problem is that although they all died of heart attacks, you have to give their lifestyle a huge chunk of the blame. So I would forget about looking to pro wrestlers for examples altogether.

Arnold had heart valve replacement a few years ago. There are a few PLs who've died of heart attacks. Those are where you want to look.

Hope that helps

BTW, today's wrestlers have much healthier habits than 80s and 70s guys -which is a great thing.


They sure can mess up your lipid profile and raise your blood pressure, that can't be good.


Arnold had a genetic defect in his heart valve. My mom has the same thing. From the day you're born you it's pre-determined that you need the surgery usually some time in your 50's or 60's. Not enough long-term research has been done on steroids to determine whether or not they do damage and how signifigant that damage is. They can't be helpful though. Keep the doses low and remember to come off sometime for christ sake.


They can't be helpful though. Keep the doses low and remember to come off sometime for christ sake.

by saying they cant be helpful are you saying they are harmful? you should have stopped when you said that not enough research has been done to know. that is a misleading statement. how do you know they cant be helpful? and to suggest that the only answer is to keep doses low? wtf? where in the world did this come from? what data do you have that suggests steroids are safer at mild or low doses as compared to high doses? you dont have any because there isnt any. sorry, but it pisses me off to read over and over again, guys giving there opinions like its a fact. like they have the first clue what they are saying. the only correct thing you said was saying to come off eventually.


so what is worse as far as common side affects: blood pressure, blood lipid profile, endocrine system, low or high dosages? laters pk


Well I'll add to this Bret Hart was forced into retirement due to a severe concusion sustained by the foot of Bill Goldberg. He was in such a haze that he didn't realize he had suffered a concussion and continued to wrestle, winding up sustaining 20 some odd more concusions before his Doctor caught on and advised he quit. His Stroke could easily have been caused in part by this.
As far as the rest of the wrestlers go there problem was probably less a steroid caused problem, and more a cocaine caused problem. A combination of altered blood lipid profiles, along with a steady diet of hotel restaurant food over the years I'm sure didn't help, but Cocaine is the one drug that has been known to kill cardiac muscle cells on contact. Cocaine causes development of thromboemboli, tachicardia, and severe vasoconstriction! These, along with some clogged arteries, and an enlarged heart d/t weight lifting - resulting in increased cardiac O2 demand I'm sure was the cocktail which contributed to these wrestler's untimely deaths!


Lifting heavy weights is bad for your heart!! Oh well...


You mean cocaine isn't good for you?


how come everything fun is bad for us? first big macs, now cocaine. this just sucks.


everything in moderation my friends!


"...Cocaine is the one drug that has been known to kill cardiac muscle cells on contact. Cocaine causes development of thromboemboli, tachicardia, and severe vasoconstriction!"

Cocaine is one of many drugs that can have negative effects on the heart, but as far as direct cardiotoxicity (damaging the myocardium), alchohol is much worse. Cocaine can cause heart attacks in otherwise young healthy individuals by causing vasospasm of the coronary arteries. This is the most common manifestation of cocaine abuse on the heart, but it is known that high levels of circulating catecholamines can also lead to cardiomyopathy. So, anything that causes elevated peripheral catecholamine levels can theoretically cause problems in the long term. Cocaine, amphetamines, and ephedrine do this. Intravenous cocaine users often have premature dilated cardiomyopathies, in which the heart becomes blown up like a balloon and can't pump properly, leading to heart failure.

As far as steroids, I've beaten this issue to death here, and there are always going to be the "pro-steroid" people who refuse to accept that the use of steroids can potentially damage the heart. It's one thing to continue to do something when you know it's bad for you, like smoking, but by propagating bullshit like "there haven't been any studies to PROVE that steroids affect your heart" you could be helping people to hurt themselves. To be honest, I haven't found any studies because I haven't taken the time to look. I don't need to have studies to form an opinion that is based on inference, existing data, and common sense.

Steroids raise the blood pressure primarily due to the stimulatory effect on red blood cell production. The more cells in a given space, the higher the pressure. This is a reversible effect, but high blood pressure increases your risk of stroke and heart attack by 30-40%. Draw your own conclusions.

Steroids also transiently affect blood lipids, usually in a negative way (unless you were hypogonadal and you supplemented w/just enough T to bring your levels to normal). We know that dyslipidemias are a risk factor for premature heart disease, so if steroids do in fact have a negative impact on blood lipids, you're only bringing yourself that much closer to a heart attack.

What is not proven, is that steroids have any effect on heart muscle size. However, it IS proven that athletes commonly have a physiological concentric hypertrophy of the left ventricle in order to compensate for the increased demand placed on the body during exercise. It's called "athlete's heart." Go figure. Again, if steroids do have hypertrophic effects on myocardium (which does not seem like a stretch since they affect skeletal muscle), you're only bringing yourself that much closer. I've argued that GH can potentially cause pathological enlargement of the heart, and people violently disagreed - "there are no studies, blah blah blah." GH-secreting tumors in adults cause a multitude of effects, one of them being visceral organ enlargement. The heart is a visceral organ. Do the fucking math.

As far as Arnold, there was controversy surrounding that. Maybe he really did have a congenitally aortic bicuspid valve (which is what one news source said), or maybe he had severe mitral valve prolapse. Doesn't mean that steroids or GH didn't contribute to his problem, and it doesn't rule out other heart problems secondary to drug use. We don't know, so there's no point in speculating.

What I do know, is that an acquantence of mine, a TON of pro wrestlers, and probably a few bodybuilders, have died from heart attacks at a young age, and they all used steroids. What was said about the typical lifestyle of the average person who uses steroids is a very good point, but steroids don't help the problem. If you're the kind of person who will continue to abuse steroids because there aren't any specific studies showing that steroids are a direct cause of heart attacks, you're not very smart. That sounds like the mentality of my grandparents' generation, who claimed that they didn't know smoking was bad for them. Ok, I personally don't see how you could fail to see inhaling something on fire as being bad, but whatever. Either way, it's not a smart gamble.