How Drugs Can Affect Your Heart’s Health

The majority of illegal drugs can have adverse effects on your heart, including abnormal heart rate and even heart attacks. Injecting illegal drugs can lead to cardiovascular issues, like collapsed veins and bacterial infections of the blood vessels and heart valves.

Drugs Are Literally Poison

Cocaine, heroin, and various other forms of amphetamine affect the body’s central nervous system. In Kansas, meth and crack-cocaine are the most significant drug threats. Missouri, on the other hand, used to be number one for meth but is now plagued with alcohol and heroin abuse currently. Besides addiction, the side effects and risks associated with these drugs include:

  • changes in body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure
  • headaches, abdominal pain, and nausea
  • impaired judgment and greater risk of some STDs
  • danger of added substances (such as talc, poisons, herbicides or other particles) which may cause a toxic reaction.
  • heart attacks, seizures, and respiratory arrest

Number One Heart Attack Drug

Cocaine is the illegal drug most often associated with visits to U.S. hospital emergency departments. Even those who would classify themselves as recreational cocaine users may have problems that contribute to heart attacks, like higher blood pressure, stiffer arteries and thicker heart muscle walls than non-users.

In 2012, an Australian study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions was the first to document those cardiovascular irregularities in seemingly healthy regular cocaine users long after the immediate effects of cocaine have worn off.

As well as cocaine, amphetamines, and ecstasy can have adverse effects on the cardiovascular system.

  • Amphetamines, including illicit drugs like meth, can be habit-forming and are prone to abuse. These drugs can be prescribed to treat everything from Parkinson’s and obesity to narcolepsy and ADHD. They stimulate the central nervous system which, in turn, increases heart rate and blood pressure, among other side effects.
  • Ecstasy, or MDMA, is known as a synthetic “club drug” with stimulant and hallucinogenic effects; they also have a similar effect on the central nervous system.

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