Growth Hormone Abuse May Boost Diabetes Risk

Case of newly diabetic bodybuilder may be a warning to others, researchers say

FRIDAY, March 9, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- People who use growth hormone to improve their athletic performance may be at risk of developing diabetes, say the authors of a case study involving a 36-year-old professional bodybuilder.

The man came to a hospital for emergency treatment of chest pain. He told doctors that he'd lost 88 pounds in 12 months and had experienced excessive thirst, appetite and urination during that time.

The bodybuilder said he'd used anabolic steroids for 15 years and artificial growth hormone for the previous three years. A year after starting to use artificial growth hormone, the man started taking insulin to counter the effects of high blood sugar.

However, he stopped taking insulin after he had a few episodes of low blood sugar while at the gym.

Tests conducted at the hospital showed that the man had very high blood sugar, his liver was inflamed, his kidneys were enlarged, and he was dehydrated. Doctors diagnosed him with diabetes and gave him intravenous fluids as well as gradually increasing amounts of insulin over five days.

His symptoms cleared up. Doctors told him he was no longer diabetic, and he was discharged from hospital.

The report authors said they believe this is the first reported cases of diabetes associated with the use of high-dose growth hormone. They urged anyone taking high doses of growth hormone to regularly check their blood sugar levels.

The study is in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

More information

The Hormone Foundation has more about hormone abuse and prevention.

SOURCE: BMJ Specialist Journals, news release, February 2007
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