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Thread: How To Cycle Safely by Observing Blood Counts

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    How To Cycle Safely by Observing Blood Counts

    Introduction

    Unfortunately, something that is often dismissed is also one of the most important things to observe during and after cycles: blood counts. Frankly, this is far more important than your precious testosterone levels . I'll even go as far as saying that it's more important than estrogen levels. Gynecomastia won't kill you. Ignoring blood counts forever can certainly be fatal. I'm not discounting the importance of other blood tests, but I want to emphasize the vitalness here. This article should serve as your information base for your most important blood count. This article should serve Testosterone -Replacement-Therapy patients just as well.

    In order to understand the effects of steroids , it's entirely important to understand the process in which blood is affected. I'm going to do my best not to bore you so I'll try and be brief with the descriptions.

    What are Red Blood Cells?

    Red Blood Cells (RBC): Oxygen (O2) is a nutrient that is vital for our survival. You knew that, right? This nutrient gets around your body via RBC's. When you breath, your lungs fill with O2. So RBC's make a quick stop in the lungs and grab a whole bunch of O2 that sits inside Hemoglobin; a protein that's inside the red cell. They swim through your veins and start dumping O2 all over your body. When they're done with that round, they swim over to the lungs for another pickup. The oxygen carries iron with it as well. So red cells transport oxygen and iron. This is a never ending cycle and that's the main purpose of RBC's.

    The amount of RBC's that you have matters. If you have too little, you're in trouble. This is called Anemia. If you have too many RBC's, you're also in trouble, and that's called Polycythemia. So obviously we want to have a balanced number of red cells in our system.

    How Steroids Affect Red Blood Cell Counts

    There's a 2 major parts where steroids affect your blood counts and cause a chain reaction. Put your seatbelts on and come along for this awesome ride...

    Hepcidin Suppression:Hepcidin is a peptide that your liver produces. It exists to regulate iron metabolism. We're gonna come right back to hepcidin in a second...

    You see, there's this protein called Ferroportin. It's job is to find cells that are holding/storing iron, and it dives inside and pulls the iron out of that cell. Now that iron is free and ready to be metabolized.

    Hepcidin is released whenever your Ferroportin pulls too much iron from the cells. Hepcidin is the boss here. It's the 'master iron regulator' and wants to manage the iron so that you have a balance. So Hepcidin swims over to Ferroportin and puts handcuffs on it. Now Ferroportin is in jail and can't free anymore iron.

    So what would happen if Hepcidin wasn't around to police Ferroportin? Well, Ferroportin would go nuts and start yanking all the iron out of every cell it can find. And you would end up with a whole bunch of iron in your body that's ready to be metabolized, even though it's supposed to be stored for emergencies. But wait... How is all this iron supposed to get around? It can't swim on it's own. They needs a vehicles. Are you thinking what I'm thinking? You wish you had a life? Oh... sorry. I mean... Oxygen!

    Check this out, Hemoglobin is the protein that lives inside of the red blood cells. It holds the oxygen that RBC's are transporting. That oxygen is like a magnet for iron. So when the red cells come around... iron hops inside the cell and binds to oxygen. Now we have oxygen, iron and hemoglobin all nice and cozy inside papa red cell.

    There's a problem with this scenario, though. If Ferroportin is out of control and releasing a ton of iron, what happens when there's too much iron and not enough red cells (vehicles)? A phone call is made. "Hello? Houston! We have a problem!" (Houston is the red bone marrow that produces red cells). So this phone call is causing red bone marrow to produce a whole bunch of red cells so we can have enough vehicles to carry all this iron around. Non stop production. Millions by the second I tell ya, millions!

    Sweet! now we have a ton of red cells. But hold on a minute... I know that my body didn't generate more veins to make room for all these cells. So what's going on? There must be a RIDICULOUS traffic jam in my blood. That's exactly what happened. Tons of red cells are swimming in the blood, only a lot slower than they should because of traffic. Man! My blood is jammed up and moving very slowly. Not cool!

    Hmm. I remember that red cells also carry oxygen, does that mean my body is not getting oxygen fast enough? Yup! And I'm also going to have trouble breathing, causing even more problems.

    Oxygen Deprivation:What happens when your body is deprived of O2? Well, your liver recognizes that you have low levels and releases Erythropoietin (EPO). This is a hormone that is sent over to your bone marrow, and stimulates red cell production. Basically your system starts pumping out even more red cells to capture as much oxygen as possible when it's deprived. Millions I tell ya! The more EPO is released, the more red cells are produced. This entire process from the release to production is called Erythropoiesis.

    Your blood just got super thick and super slow.

    How Do I Know If My Blood is Too Thick?

    Best thing to do is to get a quick blood test called Complete Blood Count (CBC) panel. This panel has a lot of useful info that can help diagnose any issues. But we're looking for Hematocrit (HCT). Hematocrit is a measure of how thick your blood is. The more RBC's you have, the higher this number will be.

    Quest Diagnostics uses a reference range for hematocrit for ages 19 and up: 38.5-50.0 % for men; and 35.0-45.0 % for females.

    Your goal is to stay within that range. If your HCT level goes over a little bit, it's not the end of the world, but certainly should not be ignored. So gentlemen, if your level reaches 52%, don't panic. The danger zone is 55% or higher. At this stage you've got some serious issues to attend to. And let me be the first to tell you, it can get up there pretty darn quickly!

    What else contributes to high Hematocrit levels?

    - Sleep Apnea (Causes oxygen deprivation)
    - High Altitude Locations (Causes oxygen deprivation)
    - Smoking (Causes oxygen deprivation)
    - Dehydration (viscous blood)

    So as you see, hydration is very important and so is oxygen, obviously. So if have any of the issues listed above, coupled with steroids, your risks are much higher than normal steroid users.

    What are the risks of high Hematocrit?

    . High blood pressure
    . Thrombosis (blood clot)
    . Headaches
    . Fainting or lightheadedness
    . Shortness of Breath (especially listed for Bonaparte)
    . Fatigue and Achiness
    . Headaches
    . Pressure behind eyes

    Some of the above obviously can be used to diagnose high blood counts, which should immediately trigger something in your head to get a CBC panel.

    Questions and Answers

    What can I do to fix or prevent the problem?

    To minimize risk (not resolve), first thing is to make sure that you're always hydrated very well. Stop smoking and use mouthpieces for sleep apnea.

    To resolve the problem, you have to get rid of some blood. Removing blood from your body is actually healthy and will rid your body from some of the excess. You do this by donating blood.

    Can I just take an aspirin?

    I recommend that everyone take a baby aspirin daily. It has great benefit, however, it will not resolve the issue.

    How do I donate blood?

    Locate a blood donation center. Click here. Call them and make an appointment.

    How do I prepare for a blood donation?

    Be sure to be very hydrated. Take an aspirin. Eat a decent meal and take a snack for after the donation.

    Is it ethical to donate blood as a steroid user?

    That's really a call that only you can make. Rest assured, however, all blood is tested. Any blood that could cause harm to a patient is destroyed. They're not just going to take your word for it.

    How much blood to they take, and is it enough?

    They will draw about 1 pint of blood. They will not take anymore. Generally, 1 pint will take you down about 2 to 4 percent. So if you're at 52%, you'll go home at around ~ 48%.

    How will I feel after the donation?

    I personally don't feel anything. But many people feel pretty light headed, especially if HCT was in the lower range to begin with. Most places will have some snacks for you to help a little. You can also sit in the waiting room until you feel better. Do not attempt to drive or do anything tasking immediately after if you're light headed or feel any ill effects.

    Since you may have suffered some of the symptoms mentioned earlier, you should feel almost immediate relief.

    What should I do after the donation?

    You should avoid any strenuous activities, including cardio, lifting, etc. You should rest for at least 4 hours. Personally, I don't even go to the gym that day. I just wait till the next day. But generally, 4 to 6 hours is plenty of rest time.

    How often should I donate?

    I recommend that you donate as often as a donation center will allow you. Depending on the center, the time between donation is 2 to 3 months.

    I need more than 1 pint gone, can I wait a few days and go to another donation center?

    No. Donations are all registered and logged into a national database. They will know that you donated and will reject you.

    Can I be rejected for a donation?

    You will be rejected if you answer 'yes' to any of the million questions.
    You will be rejected if your HCT is too high or too low. They prick your finger and measure on the spot.

    What can I do if I am rejected?

    You'll need to contact a doctor that will write you a prescription for a therapeutic phlebotomy. The doctor will likely order a CBC panel to verify the necessity. Once you have your prescription, you'll need to locate a blood center that performs therapeutic phlebotomies. Not all of them do. Click here to locate a center. Note that therapeutic phlebotomies are not donated, so they're not free. You need to contact them and be prepared to pay. The center will ask that your doctor fills out paperwork. They will communicate with your doctor directly for this.

    What if I can't get a prescription for a phlebotomy?

    Well, at this stage you're going to have to drain yourself. This isn't as complicated as it sounds. Google videos on self bloodletting. For your first time, I recommend that you have someone in the same room with you just in case you faint. Don't worry, fainting sucks but you're alive. Be sure you're seated so that you don't fall and slam split your head open. Let your buddy know that if you faint, you might make some odd noises and snoring but you should soon wake up. They do not need to shake you or perform CPR. You should be notably breathing. The needle may have fallen out, if not, it needs to be removed and pressure applied to clot the spot. You should soon wake up. You can dump the blood down the toilet.

    And that's how the cookie crumbled.

    Have a powerful day,

    ~ Austinite
    Last edited by austinite; 03-27-2014 at 10:44 PM.
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    wow aus, you're churning out these articles faster than i can read them! well done!

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    Quote Originally Posted by AD View Post
    wow aus, you're churning out these articles faster than i can read them! well done!
    Thank you AD! Always love your feedback brother.
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    You missed your calling. Or you just found it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Capebuffalo View Post
    You missed your calling. Or you just found it.
    lol, something along those lines!
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    Quote Originally Posted by austinite View Post
    Thank you AD! Always love your feedback brother.
    ok, so here's my assessment:

    i think someone is due for a promotion

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    lol. Hey did you see the mini story I did involving you in the lounge?

    http://forums.steroid.com/anabolic-l...ml#post6663142
    ~ PLEASE DO NOT ASK FOR SOURCE CHECKS ~

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    are you allowed to win the member of the year twice in a roll?

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    Quote Originally Posted by AD View Post
    are you allowed to win the member of the year twice in a roll?
    Ha! That would be nice. But I can think of others that deserve it more than me.
    ~ PLEASE DO NOT ASK FOR SOURCE CHECKS ~

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    Great post Austinite. Thanks

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    Another great post austinite

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    Great read awesome thread thanks

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    and the list keeps growing. good stuff Austinite. thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by austinite View Post
    Ha! That would be nice. But I can think of others that deserve it more than me.
    No you can't.
    -*- NO SOURCE CHECKS -*-

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    phenomenal mate all your work.

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    Doesn't matter what I previously knew, I always learn something reading your posts!



    Even if that something is do not date strippers, that is still learning.

    thanks aust

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    So how often do you donate blood.

    Like lets say your on an 8 week cycle, do you donate week 4 and week 8, or more frequently? Or do you ONLY go by the lab work and when you see the numbers going up then you donate?

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    Quote Originally Posted by GSXRvi6
    So how often do you donate blood.

    Like lets say your on an 8 week cycle, do you donate week 4 and week 8, or more frequently? Or do you ONLY go by the lab work and when you see the numbers going up then you donate?
    I 'd donate prior to cycle, then at 8 weeks. But I donate every 8 weeks anyways.

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    Appointment made... Thx Austinite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GSXRvi6 View Post
    So how often do you donate blood.

    Like lets say your on an 8 week cycle, do you donate week 4 and week 8, or more frequently? Or do you ONLY go by the lab work and when you see the numbers going up then you donate?
    Depends on your blood work. If no blood work depends on your dose and compounds used. But as a general rule, if you donate after your cycle is done, you should be fine. If you're running EQ, probably before, during and after would be best.
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    Thank you for a great article. I think you have solved my problem. I used to give blood all the time and always felt great. Now i have not done so and am feeling short of breath. Surgeons here want to remove tonsils and adenoids but I would rather do this first. They blame sleep apnea ( My wife say I do not snore!) The hospital also along with the heart specialist have given advice with no blood work! They were angry I suggested they should. I get my GP to do blood counts.

    Its amazing that in a country famed for sex change operations, where people come for and receive major surgery at low cost so many hospitals have such poor doctors. As a teacher here my insurance will not cover the best hospitals! Yet with broken bones and motorcycle accidents they are great!

    Thanks again, regards, John

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Andrew View Post
    Thank you for a great article. I think you have solved my problem. I used to give blood all the time and always felt great. Now i have not done so and am feeling short of breath. Surgeons here want to remove tonsils and adenoids but I would rather do this first. They blame sleep apnea ( My wife say I do not snore!) The hospital also along with the heart specialist have given advice with no blood work! They were angry I suggested they should. I get my GP to do blood counts.

    Its amazing that in a country famed for sex change operations, where people come for and receive major surgery at low cost so many hospitals have such poor doctors. As a teacher here my insurance will not cover the best hospitals! Yet with broken bones and motorcycle accidents they are great!

    Thanks again, regards, John
    Glad you can make use of the info, John.

    Stay healthy my friend.
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    Great post!

    I'm O- and donate every 8-9 weeks or so.

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    Wow Austinite!
    Drain yourself! Sounds so simple, I wish I had a video of our simple procedure! I never knew blood could coagulate so quickly! 18 gauge needle and after 3 minutes its blocked! Wife is helping and so we keep trying to find new places new veins, new needles after no less than 10 attempts we finally get to the 450ml mark. I am amazed that my wife just keeps on smiling! Now she not only injects me but has a new job as bleeder, plus vein finder now its time to clean up! I am covered in blood, as is my wife, as is the room. How the hell do I stop the coagulation! Something I missed somewhere! Good thing is I feel well. Even better my wife is laughing! Now I will try to find a video that shows a better way! I hope you can have a good laugh at my expense!

    Thanks again, regards, John

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Andrew View Post
    Wow Austinite!
    Drain yourself! Sounds so simple, I wish I had a video of our simple procedure! I never knew blood could coagulate so quickly! 18 gauge needle and after 3 minutes its blocked! Wife is helping and so we keep trying to find new places new veins, new needles after no less than 10 attempts we finally get to the 450ml mark. I am amazed that my wife just keeps on smiling! Now she not only injects me but has a new job as bleeder, plus vein finder now its time to clean up! I am covered in blood, as is my wife, as is the room. How the hell do I stop the coagulation! Something I missed somewhere! Good thing is I feel well. Even better my wife is laughing! Now I will try to find a video that shows a better way! I hope you can have a good laugh at my expense!

    Thanks again, regards, John
    lol, John!

    I had issues with that but started using a tourniquet and that helped some. But when blood is thick... it's THICK! Last time I clogged a 16 gauge and gave up. So I went to have a phlebotomy done and their needle clogged as well.

    Try taking an aspirin that day, it will help.

    Look at this sludge sticking to the side of the vial...

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    Great post... As usual

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    Thanks, its good to know I am not alone!! But I must say I feel better today and breathing much easier.

    Thanks again, John

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    Great Read, but I gotta say after reading I am a little worried about getting rejected. I just don't think I could bring myself to draining my own blood.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chadcuz1985 View Post
    Great Read, but I gotta say after reading I am a little worried about getting rejected. I just don't think I could bring myself to draining my own blood.
    therapeutic phlebotomy. Any doctor can write it.
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    Right, I gotcha. But, It probably wouldn't be recommended to take a blood thinner would it, I just thought about it. And that's all it was, just a thought. What do you think about that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by chadcuz1985 View Post
    Right, I gotcha. But, It probably wouldn't be recommended to take a blood thinner would it, I just thought about it. And that's all it was, just a thought. What do you think about that?
    They don't recommend it, but I do. Just means you'll have to keep the bandage on a few minutes longer so it clots. I always, always take blood thinners.
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    My wife is a nurse and did my first phlebotomy a couple days ago, went pretty smooth and she said my bloods viscosity was normal. We transported the blood from me to an old coffee container(maxwell french roast) lol. we have this well liked neighbor and my suggestion was to put it in a balloon and through it at her door but she wasn't game lol, so it was disposed of in the toilet....pretty gross imo

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    My wife is a nurse too, but shes unaware of my usage. So that's out the window. If I get to feeling the symptoms ill have to try and donate. Until, ill just take aspirin and hydrate a lot. On a side not, TRT patients don't have to worry with this do they?

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    ^ Yes they do. TRT patients donate regularly. Just doesn't climb as fast due to the lower doses. Some folks are not affected.

    Aspirin will not change hematocrit levels.
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    Gotcha, So an aspirin a day wont change the levels, I see you say its a great benefit but I don't see what the benefit is. Sorry for so many questions but what would it do?

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    Good for your cardiovascular health, easier blood flow, blood viscosity. Tons of benefit. Eating right now so hit up google so I don't have to make a big list
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    LOL, I trust you more than google bro. But thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by chadcuz1985 View Post
    LOL, I trust you more than google bro. But thanks
    less platelet aggregation
    less chance of clotting
    less chance of stroke
    less chance of heart attack
    Better blood flow
    Blood viscosity

    etc... etc...
    ~ PLEASE DO NOT ASK FOR SOURCE CHECKS ~

    "It's human nature in a 'more is better' society full of a younger generation that expects instant gratification, then complain when they don't get it. The problem will get far worse before it gets better". ~ kelkel

  39. #39
    ironbeck's Avatar
    ironbeck is offline Knowledgeable Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by chadcuz1985 View Post
    My wife is a nurse too, but shes unaware of my usage. So that's out the window. If I get to feeling the symptoms ill have to try and donate. Until, ill just take aspirin and hydrate a lot. On a side not, TRT patients don't have to worry with this do they?
    And you really believe she is totally ignorant to your usage? she is not bro, she just chooses not to make a big deal out of it. Let me guess you are fairly new to marriage?1-3yrs. All relationships r different It would be such a pain in the ass to hide from my significant other.

  40. #40
    austinite's Avatar
    austinite is offline HRT Specialist ~ AR-Platinum Elite-Hall of Famer ~
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    Let's stay on topic , gentlemen.
    ~ PLEASE DO NOT ASK FOR SOURCE CHECKS ~

    "It's human nature in a 'more is better' society full of a younger generation that expects instant gratification, then complain when they don't get it. The problem will get far worse before it gets better". ~ kelkel

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