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Drugs Addiction and Heart Health

how drugs impact heart health

Drug abuse has severe effects on the physical and mental health of our bodies. Nearly 21 million Americans have at least one form of drug addiction. And only 10% of those people receive treatment to get cured of that addiction. These numbers show that it is highly essential and urgent to make people aware of the grave effects drug abuse can have on our life.

Illegal and prescription drugs both carry a lot of risks to people who misuse them. Drug misuse has a lot of adverse effects on the brain that causes a lot of disturbance in the mental balance of the person as well as changes the behavior to a great extent. The drug abusers typically show erratic, dangerous actions, social and emotional problems. 

Along with its severe mental and behavioral effects, drug abuse of all forms can have adverse effects on the body altogether. 

They can damage essential organ systems and cause a significant decline in overall physical and mental health. The cardiovascular system is one such system that gets severely affected due to drug abuse.

The cardiovascular system comprises of the heart, arteries, veins, and capillaries that are responsible for moving blood around the body. With this, they supply various organs and tissues in our body with oxygen and nutrients, and at the same time, they remove carbon dioxide and other wastes. 

The health effects of drug abuse can range from minor to life hazardous. The results differ based on the type of drug misused and the method in which it is consumed.

Let us now see what effects it has on our cardiovascular system.

drugs addiction and heart health

What Effects do Drugs Have on the Heart?

As drug abuse can disturb the balance of our nervous system, it has a direct impact on our cardiovascular system. The effects of these drugs are hazardous primarily because they activate various stimulants that produce a sympathetic nervous system. This has complete control over the release of adrenaline and other elements that has a lot of effects on our body. 

The main effects drug abuse has on our cardiovascular system are:

  • Increase in the levels of adrenaline and other hormones into the blood.
  • Increase in the heart rate (tachycardia).
  • Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia).
  • Narrowing of blood vessels (vasoconstriction).
  • Increase in blood pressure (hypertension).

When seen together, these effects can have a grave impact on a person’s health. By reducing the blood flow to some areas of the heart, they increase the risk of experiencing myocardial ischemia by manifold. Further, they reduce the oxygen levels of the heart that leads to myocardial infarction, commonly called a heart attack. 

Along with this, prolonged drug abuse can cause intense spasms and contractions of the heart muscles. 

Because of this, the arteries in the heart are severely affected. They get torn down, and hence the oxygen that is supplied to the heart and its walls is not reduced. This quite often leads to a heart attack as well. 

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Effects of Irregularity in Heart Rate and Blood Pressure

Some of the drugs, such as cocaine and acid, can have fatal effects on your heart. One of the most severe impacts it can have on your heart is that of a premature heart attack. Cocaine is known for shooting up the blood pressure to massive high. And when consumed over a more extended period, it causes the arteries of the heart to grow stiffer and narrower, thereby reducing the blood flow to the heart.

Furthermore, all these effects affect heart muscle immensely. It is observed that the muscle of the heart of drug abusers grow thick over time. When all these effects are seen in synergy, then you can understand the true evil nature of drugs that can destroy the health completely by causing a heart attack.

The fact is that the effects of these drugs are long-lasting. Although their impact on the brain fades away, they affect the heart severely. Drug abuse can also increase the possibility of blood clotting, which increases the possibility of arteries blockage, thereby increasing the probability of a heart attack.

On the other side, there are drugs such as heroin that affect the health of the heart differently. They reduce the heart rate considerably and lower the blood pressure as well. This facilitates massive irregularity in heart rates. 

It puts your health for a toss when the heart is not beating fast enough or circulating enough oxygen to your body.


There have been three times a massive rise in deaths caused due to drug overdose since 1991. It is essential to raise awareness of the true nature of drug addiction. Most of the people are aware of their mental and psychological effects; however, they are blind to the fatal and life-hazardous impact they can have on our heart and body. 

Hence, we must promote heart health and treatment as they have proved to be immensely helpful in pushing the withdrawal symptoms and live a healthy life.