What do Drugs and Alcohol do to Your Heart?

Researchers have determined a link between the abuse of certain drugs and adverse cardiovascular effects.

If you or a loved one is abusing drugs, it’s important to know about the negative side effects, including potentially serious heart complications. These problems may include worsening of current heart problems, an abnormal heart rate, heart failure or even death.

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The best way to avoid these types of heart complications is to avoid taking illegal drugs altogether and seeking professional help.

Specific Drugs That Affect Your Cardiovascular System

Certain drugs can increase your risk of developing heart-related complications. They include:

  • Inhalants
  • Cocaine
  • Nicotine
  • Heroin
  • LSD
  • MDMA
  • Methamphetamine
  • Marijuana
  • Ketamine
  • PCP
  • Steroids
  • Prescription Stimulants

What Do Drugs Do to Your Heart?

Overall, the type and severity of potential heart complications depends on the drug itself, the length of drug use, the quantity of drug used, and the health of the individual. In general, drug use can exacerbate current heart problems, and increase the risk of abnormal heart beats, heart attack and heart failure.

There are several cardiovascular effects that are caused by drug use, and they depend on the drug ingested:

  • Stimulant drugs used to affect the central nervous system, such as cocaine, have highly addictive qualities. They pose dangerous risks to your heart, including increased heart rate, heart attack and cardiac fibrillation.
  • Heroin usage can lead to infections in the valves and lining of your heart. Injectable drugs may also result in serious cardiovascular complications, including collapsed veins and bacterial infection in heart valves.
  • Opium use can affect your heart by decreasing your heart rate.
  • Methamphetamine can cause congestive heart failure, arrhythmia, and damaged blood vessels and heart muscles from inflammation. It not only prevents the blood from properly flowing to your vital organs, but it also stops the blood from flowing to your heart itself.  This drug can speed up your heart rate and put more stress on your heart, which further elevates your risk of stroke or heart failure.
  • Heavy tobacco use may lead to a bigger risk of heart problems. The nicotine stimulant increases the workload of your heart, and the carbon monoxide deprives your heart of oxygen. This causes your arteries to narrow due to the thickening of your blood that results from smoking.

What Does Alcohol Do to Your Heart?

Alcohol, especially in combination with drugs, can affect the heart considerably:

  • Heavy alcohol use can cause abnormalities and inflammation of the heart, elevations of blood fats, arrhythmia and hypertension. Alcohol, even at lower doses, can decrease an already diseased heart’s ability to contract and expel blood.
  • When combined with drugs, alcohol abuse can also cause anemia and interfere with proper clotting of blood.
  • Over time, the heart muscle can deteriorate, leading to cardiomyopathy and an increased risk of heart attack.

Protecting Your Heart From Drug Abuse

If you or a loved one is suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction, we encourage you to contact 12 Keys today to start protecting your heart. Our experienced and compassionate staff will answer all the questions you might have about addiction recovery and withdrawal, and the impact drug and alcohol abuse can have on your heart. We provide individualized attention to your specific recovery needs, so you can experience a long-lasting recovery and a sober, fulfilling life.

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