I get guys on the Peak Testosterone Forum every so often, who I am pretty sure are taking non-physiological testosterone dosages. 1200 ng/dl is the level that I have seen accepted as a youthful maximum and some guys want to push that upper limit and abuse or game the system a little. Of course, that's not a good idea for many reasons and I am going to share a near death experience that one of our posters confessed to me. He gave me permission to share his story and you'll see why below:
Confessions of a Testosterone Cheater (One Reason Why Abusing HRT is NOT a Good Plan):
So I started experimenting with higher doses of T to see if I could get bigger gains in the gym. I am currently prescribed 150mg/week. But believe it or not I discovered that with getting the 10ml vials the pharmacy wasn't really policing how often I refilled it. So I worked up to a whopping 300mg/week for about 3 months. I doubled up my Anistrozole to keep the E2 in check. Can't say I ever really saw any gains above my prescribed dosage. But there was a little something that was happening in the background that I and you know about, but I underestimated how bad it could get.
My RBC/hemoglobin started sky rocketing. Now I knew about this and had given blood in the past even when I was on normal doses. Never really got above about 17.5 at worst. So while I was planning on my next blood letting to align just prior to my vacation, because I wanted to squeeze out every bit of gains I could get before vacation, I noticed that I was getting a little short on breath over nothing. I realized I better get that blood out of me. I was stupid and in denial and did not want to check my blood pressure, even though I had a damn machine at home. Figured I would look at it after I gave blood. Well then the day of my appointment, the place I donate with makes you schedule it about 4 weeks in advance, they called and cancelled! UGH! I was pissed. Now I had to go to on vacation feeling this high hypertension.
So I get to our resort where it is 92 degrees and 90% humidity and I feel like I'm 400 pounds walking around. As you know, your circulatory system is mainly responsible for regulating your cooling. If your system is taxed to the limit, it has little ability to cool you down. I couldn't be cool outside unless I was constantly in the pool or in the nice air conditioned room. Looking back now I'm sure my BP was sky high. I had constant beet red eyes to indicate it as well. So after I survived the $7500 vacation that I had looked so forward to I decided upon getting home to immediately find somewhere to get all that damn blood out of me. This started the next adventure!
I found I could get an appointment with red cross pretty quickly and went 2 days after returning home. I get there and they went through their usual checks of heart rate, BP, and hemoglobin. Heart rate while resting for 10 minutes in a chair refused to drop under about 98. They will not take your blood if you are over 100. Survived that check barely. THEN came the shocker. My BP after resting for the same 10 minutes, was 165 over 110 !!! They would not take my blood. Talk about your catch-22. I need to give blood to correct the BP issue, and they won't take it because it's too high. Terrible spot to be in. So I went home and decided to double up my BP medicine and go again in 3 days. Well once again I was sent packing. this time 150/104. It's the lower diastolic number that they have a limit of 100 for. Missed it by 5 points. At this point I called my dr and explained I needed something to get my BP down so I could give the blood. He prescribed water pills and told me take them together with my Lisinipril for about 3 days and try again. Still no luck. I was really pissed by this time. But this time I just made the BP cutoff at 145/97. It was the damn heart rate that got me this time. Remember, I have been an athlete my entire life so to have a resting heart rate like this was crazy for me. Only a few months prior it was mid 50's.
So now I started researching medications that lower your heart rate and was sitting next to my wife on the couch. I mentioned to her that beta blockers will lower my heart rate 10 to 20 bpm. To my surprise she chimes in with "oh, I have some of those" What? She explained her dr prescribed them for her performances.
So I decided to self prescribe for 2 days and try ONE MORE TIME. Success!!! RELIEF! I finally made it far enough through the checks that they checked my hemoglobin. Mine was 19.4. Wholly Crap. That is high. They told me that is the highest they have seen. At 20 they said they wouldn't take my blood. Just made that one. Interesting observation was that when I looked down at the blood bag for the guy next to me his looked like a nice dark red. Mine was nearly black!! They were calling me Iron Man! Here is the scariest thing I learned from dr after following up with him:
Hemoglobin above 19 puts you at risk for spontaneous blood clotting. Uh OH! I was lucky.
Since all of this happened I have given blood one more time only a month later. My hemo was down to 17.3 from the first one and now is likely in the normal middle of the range. I will find out in a few days. I just had my lab blood drawn. I am now off of the beta blockers, back to my simple 20mg/day of lisinipril and my my BP is running around 128/75. Resting heart rate has come back down to around 70 but I suspect this will drop further with more time.
So basically I learned a huge lesson about test, bone marrow blood production, and procrastination. The 3 together can become very dangerous pretty quickly.
So, in closing, I am really trying to get across three major points that I have learned from this whole experience:
1) Upping your dosage does not seem to really buy you anything in terms of gym gains. I suppose that the serious abusers that do 500mg/week or more get something. But I will never know. I will not try this as it is not worth the bigger health risk.
2) It is important to know for people that need to control their RBC from TRT by giving blood that you can get caught in this terrible catch-22 where they won't take your blood. So don't procrastinate on your scheduled blood draining if you are one of us who's RBC is senstive to T-levels.
3) Letting things go without taking action can be fatal. If I hadn't known what was causing my symptoms and taken action when I did my outcome could have quickly become much worse. Stay on top of your BP and lab results if you are on TRT.