Published: December 9, 2009
Many competitive bodybuilders take anabolic steroids to achieve their freakishly exaggerated physiques. That is no secret. But steroids can be only one part of an extreme regimen that can wreak havoc on the body.
Human growth hormone, supplements, painkillers and diuretics can also be used to create the “shrink-wrapped” muscles so prized in the aesthetic. And the high concentration of muscle mass puts stress on the body, as if the lifter were obese.
Lifting weights in the gym is “extremely healthy for you,” said Kenneth Wheeler, a former elite bodybuilder known as Flex. “But if you want to be a bodybuilder and compete at the highest level, it has nothing to do with health.” A relatively rare form of kidney disease forced Wheeler to retire in 2003 at age 37, and he needed a kidney transplant later that year.
Determining the extent of the damage that bodybuilders inflict on themselves is difficult, in part because there is little interest in financing studies on such an extreme group, and because bodybuilders are not always honest about what they take. That is why a case study published last month by a top kidney journal is generating interest in the nephrology and bodybuilding communities. It is among the first to assert a direct link between long-term steroid use and kidney disease.
The study began 10 years ago when a kidney pathologist at Columbia University Medical Center in New York noticed that a bodybuilder had an advanced form of kidney disease. Curious, she started looking for similar cases and eventually studied 10 men with serious kidney damage who acknowledged using steroids. Nine were bodybuilders and one was a competitive powerlifter with a similar training routine.
Great read, thank you. So many young kids and older guys alike love to point out steroids do not kill anyone. What they fail to realize...or better yet accept is steroids do damage the body esp when used in high doses and for long periods of time.
Clearly as time goes on we will se many more medical reports showinf us that steroid abuse can kill and damage you.