In recent times, there has been a dramatic increase in the use of illicit drugs in the U.S., owing to an array of factors such as stress, anxiety, depression, family history or peer pressure, among others. As per a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2014, approximately 10.2 percent of Americans, aged 12 years and above had used some form of illicit drug in the month prior to the survey.
Today, illegal drug abuse has become a common problem among all age groups, race or gender, resulting in various other serious repercussions such as accidents, domestic violence, unintentional injuries and even death. However, the most far-reaching effect of drug abuse and dependence is a serious impact on the crucial organs in the human body such as liver, kidney, heart and the brain.
Although not very commonly known, drug abuse over a prolonged period can prove to be detrimental for the proper functioning of the heart. The damage caused to the cardiovascular system can result in several heart ailments such as changes in the heart rate, heart failure, worsening of current heart problems or even death.
Effects of illegal substances on the heart: An overview
It has been found that abusing illicit drugs such as cocaine, amphetamine, heroin or opioids can severely affect the proper functioning of the heart. When an individual smokes, inhales or injects the drug, it enters into the bloodstream. The heart then pumps the blood to the brain, which, in turn, affects the way a person feels or behaves.
Whether someone is taking drugs occasionally or on a regular basis, it can have a direct impact on the heart, thereby resulting in a number of heart diseases. For instance, drinking alcohol heavily can weaken the heart’s ability to pump blood, which might also lead to heart failure. Regular and high doses of stimulant drugs such as amphetamine and cocaine might increase the risk of heart attacks. Apparently, the risk is higher in people who are already suffering from heart problems or high blood pressure. While a short-term use of illegal drugs can result in heart attacks, their long-term use can even lead to death due to increased heart complications.
Smoking nicotine makes the heart work more rigorously. It can result in thickening of the blood, reducing its capability to flow through the narrowed arteries.
Quitting drugs to safeguard health
While there might be several factors responsible for pushing millions of people into the devastating habit of drug abuse, lack of support majorly results in such people being unable to kick the habit despite knowing its harmful effects. Therefore, it is crucial to identify the problem of addiction at an early stage and get the required help before it is too late.
Drug abuse not only destroys lives but also tears families apart. However, it is nearly impossible to quit addiction without professional help. Withdrawal symptoms can be immensely difficult to deal with, and therefore, frequent relapses are a common occurrence. Hence, people addicted to drugs need medical intervention to help them lead a sober life.