Substance Abuse and Heart Related Dangers


Substance Abuse and Heart Related Dangers

Did you know that certain drugs or medications can cause arrhythmia? Arrhythmias are associated with the heart. The heart can either skip a beat or add a beat but not be something serious that we always need to worry about. The problem is there are various kinds of arrhythmias and some are serious and life-threatening.


This is nothing to take lightly because if the arrhythmias are a serious form, they can affect the pumping action of your heart leading to dizzy spells, faintness, shortness of breath or other serious heart problems.

As stated above, there are stimulants and medications that can cause arrhythmias which includes alcohol, amphetamines, and cocaine. Medications and stimulants also include beta blockers, caffeine, appetite suppressants, nicotine, some asthma medicines, and thyroid medicines.

Not all arrhythmias are life-threatening but some are and anyone abusing cocaine, alcohol or amphetamines may want to be aware of this. The short term effects associated with cocaine use are serious enough, the physiological effects from the use of cocaine includes:

  • Blood vessel constriction
  • Blood pressure increases
  • Heart rate increases
  • Pupils dilate

Cocaine use does affect the cardiovascular system and the most frequent effects include the following:

  1. Heart rhythm disturbances
  2. Heart attacks
  3. Neurological effects which include strokes, seizures, headaches, and coma
  4. Cocaine related death which is a result of cardiac arrest or seizures that are followed by respiratory arrest.

Long term effects from abusing cocaine depend on how a person chooses to administer the drug.

Cocaine Effects from Snorting Cocaine

  • Loss of smell
  • Nosebleeds
  • Swallowing problems
  • Hoarseness
  • Nasal septum irritation
  • Runny nose
 

Cocaine Effects from Ingesting Cocaine

Serious severe bowel gangrene (because the blood flow is decreased).

Cocaine Effects from Injecting Cocaine

  • Tracks on fore-arm (possible allergic reactions)
  • HIV/AIDS

Cocaine is combined with other additives and depending on the additive, can lead to death. Chronic use of cocaine no matter how the drug is administered leads to serious weight loss and malnourishment which is just as dangerous.

Abusing amphetamines could lead to heart arrhythmia as well. The short term effects associated with amphetamine abuse include;

  • Amphetamine abuse short term effects
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • The user may experience confusion
  • Increased body temperature
  • Problems sleeping
  • Decreased appetite
  • Possible malnutrition
  • Nausea
  • Blurry vision
  • Muscle spasms
 

If a person continues to repeat the use of amphetamines they can experience hostility and paranoia. When a person uses amphetamines in high doses this can lead to cardiovascular problems with include strokes.

Effects from High Doses of Amphetamines

  • Heart palpitations
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Blurry vision
  • Decreased coordination
  • Overdose and possibly death

An overdose of amphetamines can cause seizures, heart failure, strokes and again, possible death.

Chronic use of amphetamines can not only cause withdrawal symptoms when unable to use or if a person chooses to stop but they can also experience fatigue, depression, and sleeping problems.

When a person abuses amphetamines they are risking brain cell damage and amphetamine psychosis which includes symptoms that are similar to schizophrenia like hallucinations and paranoia. Individuals need to seek immediate medical attention if they experience a high temperature, seizures, chest pains, extreme anxiety, hallucinations or paranoid delusions because this is serious.

Unfortunately today drugs like cocaine and amphetamines are very easy to get because they’re trafficked into the United States in various ways. Fortunately a huge portion of illegally trafficked cocaine is seized before the dangerous drug can get into the hands of our teens, young adults and chronic users. ABC News talks about a narco sub being intercepted that was attempting to smuggle cocaine into the United States that’s worth $180 million dollars. Thanks to the Coast Guard these drugs weren’t able to get into the hands of drug dealers or cocaine users.

When a parent abuses drugs like cocaine or any other substance they’re not only putting their own health at risk they are also risking their children’s lives as well sometimes. Their children are at risk due to neglect from them being high or because their child accidentally and innocently ingests substances that are lying around. Chron.com talks about a year old boy and the symptoms he experienced hours after leaving a “drug house”, these symptoms were very serious and sadly the baby “tested positive” for substances found in his system.

Cocaine isn’t the only drug we need to worry about when it comes to heart related problems. There are substances circulating the illicit drug market today that people use as substitutes for cocaine like mephedrone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone which are equally as dangerous.

mephedrone

Mephedrone Anuse

Mephedrone is a designer drug, classified as a schedule 1 substance which produces psycho-activity, hallucinations and stimulates the central nervous system. Street names for mephedrone (methylmethcathinone) include 4-MMC, meow meow, m-CAT, bounce, bubbles, and mad cow. Mephedrone abuse has been responsible for many deaths as well as serious health related problems which have led many people to the emergency room for medical treatment.


Adverse health related problems associated with mephedrone abuse include increased heart rates, chest pains, anxiety, dizziness, delusions, irritability, nose bleeds, nausea and vomiting.

methylenedioxypyrovalerone

Methylenedioxypyrovalerone Abuse

Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) is another designer drug many people are abusing today. This drug is classified a schedule 1 drug and also produces hallucinogenic effects. Street names for MDPV include bath salts, ivory wave, plant fertilizer, vanilla sky and energy-1. Marketed as plant food and bath salts, MDPV is abused by people young and older and can cause very intense, long lasting panic attacks and many people that continue to repeat the abuse of this designer drug also experience serious bouts of psychosis.

When a person starts out experimenting with drugs they don’t realize where that road may lead them and the serious health problems they may soon begin to experience. Heart related problems associated with drug abuse is unfortunately a risk people take every time they experiment or repeat the use of drugs like cocaine, amphetamines, alcohol. The risks are increased with repeated use and also when combining other substances which is extremely common today. You don’t have to have heart problems to begin with for a person to die from substance abuse. You need to understand though that abusing drugs or other substances seems to be a sure-fire way of creating them no matter how old you are.

References
NIDA
Better Health
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