If you’re in recovery from a substance use disorder, your heart is likely saying thank you right about now. That’s because alcohol as well as the majority of illegal drugs can have an adverse impact on your heart health, ranging from irregular heart rate to heart attacks. In honor of American Heart Month this February, here’s a look at your heart on drugs.
According to the American Heart Association, chronic drug use can lead to a variety of cardiovascular problems, including:
- Rapid or irregular heart beats (arrhythmia)
- Sudden increase in blood pressure
- Endocarditis (inflammation of the heart lining)
- Dilated cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart)
- Vascular thrombosis (clots in the coronary arteries
- Collapsed veins (from injecting drugs)
- Bacterial infections of the blood vessels and heart valves (from injecting drugs
Here’s a look at a few specific drugs and how they can cause harm to your heart:
- Cocaine, often called the “heart attack drug,” has been implicated in nearly 25% of heart attacks that occur in people under 45. Cocaine can also cause acute aortic dissection (a sudden tearing of the wall of the aorta), coronary artery aneurysms and myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle.
- Opioid abuse can cause slowed heart rate as well as irregular heart beat. When opioids are taken in combination with benzodiazepines (Valium or Xanax), it can result in depressed function of the heart muscle.
- Heroin users are most prone to endocarditis, which is an infection of the inner lining and valves of the heart.
- Methamphetamine (meth) use can cause arrhythmia, congestive heart failure, inflammation and damage to the heart muscles and blood vessels as well as stroke.
- LSD increases heart rate and blood pressure and in high doses can lead to heart failure.
- Ecstasy can cause heart palpitations, inflammation of the heart, excessive fluctuations in blood pressure, heart damage, heart attacks, pulmonary hypertension and stroke.
Protecting Your Ticker
Early intervention is the best way to combat the physical and emotional damage caused by a substance use disorder. BRC Recovery can equip you with the life skills and spiritual practices needed to recreate and reclaim your life. To learn about our proven programs and recovery services, call today: 866-461-1759.