© Fisher Photostudio - Fotolia.com

© Fisher Photostudio – Fotolia.com

Many people use anabolic steroids without fearing the side effects. Two conditions that people need to be aware of when taking anabolic steroids are polycythemia and gynecomastia.

Polycythemia occurs when a person has too many red blood cells circulating in the bloodstream. Medical doctors test the level of hemocrit and hemoglobin in the blood to determine if a patient has polycythemia.

When women have 48 percent and men 52 percent or more of hemocrit, they are said to suffer from polycythemia. When women have 16.5 g/dl and men 18.5 g/dL or more of hemoglobin, doctors diagnose them with polycythemia as well.

Primary and Secondary Polycythemia

There are two types of polycythemia:

  • Primary
  • Secondary

Primary polycythemia is due to an inherent cause of an increase of red blood cells. Secondary polycythemia is caused by either an underlying condition or some outside factor that resulted in higher red blood cell production.

Some of the causes of secondary polycythemia include:

  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Emphysema
  • Chronic heart disease
  • Sleep apnea
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Living in a high altitude
  • Cancer
  • Anabolic steroids
  • Testosterone replacement therapy
  • Erythropoietin

Body Builders and Professional Weight Lifters Are at Risk

Many body builders take anabolic steroids and testosterone replacements to increase muscle mass. One of the concerns they have is developing polycythemia, as well as gynecomastia, which is the enlargement of the male breasts.

The effects of pro-longed anabolic steroid use include mentally and emotional devastating, and for some, life threatening. Cancer, stroke, heart attack, hemorrahaging and blood clotting problems are just some of the many physical effects that can occur due to polycythemia.

The development of female looking breasts because of gynecomastia can lead to feeling self-conscious and depressed, but there is no threat to a man’s life when they develop this condition.

Treatment for Prolonged Anabolic Steroid Use

Contact your physician immediately if you believe you have polycythemia. Testing will confirm whether or not you have the disorder. If you do, your physician will be able to guide you in the right direction for treatment.

If you regularly use anabolic steroids or if you are currently taking testosterone replacement therapy under the care of a physician, please attend regular physical exams with your doctor to check your blood for polycythemia and other hormone-related conditions that can develop.

If gynecomastia is an issue for you, a physician can test you for any underlying medical problems having to do with the condition. If there are no medical problems contributing to your enlarged breasts, you may be a candidate for gynecomastia surgery.

A highly-qualified plastic and cosmetic surgeon can help you by cosmetically reducing the size and shape of your breasts. Once you have surgery, you’ll have the tight, flat chest you’ve been missing.

For more information about gynecomastia and the surgery to treat it, contact us for a free and private consultation with our gynecomatia specialists. We can help you understand the condition, and give you the information you need to make a decision about having male breast reduction surgery.


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*The information on this page is not intended to be used as medical advice in any way. Always consult with your doctor for any health related concerns and before starting a new diet or exercise program.