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12.12.2008






Blood clots in cerebral membrane

Lebanese neuro-surgeons describe two cases of bodybuilders with what is probably a rare side-effect of anabolic steroids: blood clots on the outside of the brains as a result of using muscle strengtheners and doing weight training.

The bodybuilders were 24 and 32 years old when they went to the doctor. The older of the two had been training for seven years using steroids. He had been feeling unwell for almost a week, with nausea and vomiting.

The other bodybuilder had only been going for a year, but according to the article was pretty fanatic: "The patient was taking a mixture of anabolic steroids, growth hormone and proteins for the past year and had gained 20 Kg in one year." The bodybuilder had been having headaches and vomiting for a month.

When the doctors did CAT scans of the men they discovered what the problem was. Both had blood clots in their cerebral membranes a few centimetres in diameter. The medical term is spontaneous subdural haematoma or SDH. When the surgeons removed the clots the complaints disappeared. But the question remains: how did the bodybuilders get the blood clots?

A combination of factors, the doctors write. Anabolic steroids can cause blood clots and narrowing of the arteries. Weight training causes very large increases of blood pressure for a short time during sets especially if athletes hold their breath during the sets. Its called valsalva.

"The abnormal increase in BP that occurs in weight lifting may increase intracranial pressure to induce venous obstruction l eading to hemorrhage", the doctors write.

Sources:
Acta Neurochir (Wien). 2005 Jan;147(1):85-7.