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If you use steroids you know the importance of blood tests, but do you know what
they mean when you get the results?
Regular bloodwork being done by the AS using bodybuilder is an indispensable
part of our routine.
It is not wise to leave these type of things to chance and just hoping that "everything
will return to normal for me". Even if you continue to cycle after seeing some
problem areas in your bloodtest results, you will at least be able to work on
clearing these up before you do so.
Also, as I have mentioned before, High Cholesterol can be the silent killer that
catches up with us later when we don't keep an eye on it. Most guys worry a lot
about their nads coming back, or proper testosterone levels, or even their sperm
count if they want children someday.
We don't see nearly as much concern for our cholesterol levels though.
Below is a brief discussion of the components of a blood profile and what the
indicators reveal in terms of bodily functions.
Such information may help you to see at a glance what is going on in your body
when you get a copy of your results. At the least you will be able to more
intelligently discuss your situation with your doctor.
I am not a Physician but this information is generic in nature regarding the
functions of the liver and kidneys as seen in bloodwork profiles.
It is not meant to be used for self-diagnosis and is only for personal interest.
Too many factors come in to play with bodybuilding to attribute elevated levels
to impaired function of a particular organ without precise and qualified
investigation by a Physician
> Blood Glucose (with 12 hour fast)
Steroids can change our sensitivity to insuline
and especially certain ones such as Human Growth Hormone, the direct use of
Insuline, as well as others. Checking this level will help monitor your insuline
> Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN)
This reading will help a physician to determine
the function of the kidneys in terms of urea filtration in the kidneys. Steroids
have the potential of damaging the filtration system of your kidneys.
This again checks the function of the kidney's
by way of its ability to clear the by-product creatinine from the system. These
levels could also be high due to creatine usage as the by-product of creatine
usage is creatinine. It is important to have a doctor who you trust and whom you
can reveal all the particulars to.
> BUN/Creatinine Ratio
Again, this is a predictor of kidney problems
whether they be temporary or permanent.
> Total Protein
Blood excesses MAY indicate kidney damage. It
is important to note that in some of these areas of indicators bodybuilders may
have levels that are higher in a transient way rather than a permanent way. Also,
whenever I have used creatine, my levels of creatinine were higher but their was
no indication otherwise of kidney damage. It was just a by- product of the
creatine usage. This is one reason that I advocate that bodybuilders use
Physicians that are familiar with Sports Medicine and the various peculiarities
that go with supplementation but which may only be fleeting changes in blood
Can indicate Kidney damage.
Again can indicate the possibility of Kidney
> Albumin/Globulin Ratio
Aspects pertinent to kidney function.
> Total Bilirubin
Liver damage is sometimes indicated by high
levels of bilirubin.
> Alkaline Phosphatase
High levels of this can be a marker for liver
This is the most reliable and specific marker
for liver damage and can be stubborn in bringing down if total recovery is even
possible. In some cases such as chemical induced hepatitis and other instances
of damage it may remain elevated indefinitely. The liver is a very resilient
organ but it does have its limitations.
A marker for muscle/liver damage.
Also a marker for liver damage.
An indicator for muscle/liver/coronary problems.
I keep a close eye on this one as I think that it is more indicative of real
problems than the changing nature of my cholesterol levels which are only
This helps your doctor to decide if you are in
the realm of coronary risk. The elevation of cholesterol even if temporary is a
pretty inescapable aspect of AS usage. I eat very clean with respect to
saturated fats at all times. Also, I do a lot of cardio off cycle and on cycle,
unless gains are crucial. Additionally, I use a niacin supplement, guggul, and
Chinese rice yeast to spike my healthy cholesterol which in turn "fights" the
> HDL and LDL Cholesterol Levels
It is important to have a proper balance of
these two. The HDL(good cholesterol) helps keep the LDL in balance but the HDL
is often driven down with AS usage. HDL less than 35 is not good and can have
serious implications in terms of health consequences.
> Cholesterol/High Density Lipoprotein (HDL)
The HDL level is looked at here to assess the
risk of coronary artery damage in conjunction with any other relevant findings
that would confirm that.
If these levels are high it could also be an
indicator of coronary damage. Other factors such as high sugar consumption and
alcohol could also be the culprit.
> Total Testosterone
Helps to assess the function of our natural
testosterone production and depending on how long one has been off the cycle it
may indicate whether your levels are functioning normally again or not. Long
term usage without proper cycling or long durations of excessively high dosages
of AS can permanently alter these levels in a negative way.
Much can be said about how cortisol levels
change in the athlete as he/she trains, but generically these levels are watched
to look for adrenal problems or to indicate over- training.
Again remember that diet, heavy training and subsequent muscle breakdown, deep
tissue massage, prolonged levels of mental stress, overtraining, creatine usage,
recent antibiotic usage, tylenol, and other factors can also temporarily alter
blood levels of various these indicators.
It is important that your doctor know everything that you have been using...even
recreational drugs if pertinent. Physicians are not there to turn you in and are
bound by the law in terms of confidentiality.
When I was using illegal drugs in my addiction I spoke freely to doctors about
it. They are there to help and are not policeman.
One should not hesitate to find a reliable Sports Medicine Physician with whom
he/she can openly discuss their steroid usage with.
It is also true that not all doctors are adamantly opposed to steroid usage and
they may be willing to guide you in productive ways.
Good Luck in your bodybuilding and make your Health Number One!!!
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