Steroid abuse can also affect the heart (cardiovascular system) and cholesterol (lipid profile). Generally, in studies where steroids are abused, HDL-cholesterol (the good stuff) declines, and LDL-cholesterol tends to go up. Yeah, the good cholesterol goes down and the bad cholesterol goes up. In a related area, the heart often has to work harder because of this, and there also seems to be a steroid-related mild hypertrophy of the left ventricle which is accompanied by a decreased diastolic relaxation. This is very unclear, as regards steroid use, with regards to potential for reversibility and what portion is due to steroid use and what portion is due to training, which also increases ventricle size. Also in a related vein (ha ha) are increases in diastolic blood pressure. All of this increases risk for cardiovascular disease.
"Student athletes who participate in the ATLAS program achieve," Dr. Goldberg says. The year before they entered the program, the football teams that were randomly assigned to receive the intervention had much worse won-lost records in football than the teams in the control group had, he says. At the end of the first year, the two groups' records were about the same, but teams in the ATLAS program did slightly better. At the end of the second year, the won-lost records of the ATLAS teams were substantially better than those of the control teams, with some of the ATLAS teams making the playoffs at the end of the season. "I don't know whether these teams' improved performance is due to the ATLAS program," Dr. Goldberg says. "I do know some of those schools hadn't been to the playoffs in 25 years. The data showing improvements in program participants' composition and muscle mass are consistent with these teams' success," he says.