Illegal Drugs Abuse: How Illicit Drugs Affect One’s Heart?

Last Updated: February 23, 2021

Illegal drugs can have many harmful effects on your body. You can separate them into two large groups—physical and psychological. Furthermore, drug abuse also has a negative impact on a person’s emotional health and social life. Among the many side effects related to illegal drug abuse, one of the most life-threatening is heart disease. Drug-related heart problems can vary from arrhythmia to heart attack. Addiction to legal and illegal drugs has been on the rise for decades. Some of the most popular modern illegal drugs include heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, LSD, and methamphetamine.

Side Effects of Heroin on the Heart

Heroin is a central nervous system depressant. It slows down the user’s breathing and heart rate. Besides the severe effects of heroin, some users might also suffer from endocarditis. It’s a disease caused by bacteria found in needles and dirty syringes. As the infection progresses, surgery becomes inevitable because the infection slowly destroys the heart valves.
In some cases, users are not aware that the substance they’re taking isn’t pure heroin. It might contain many dangerous ingredients such as talc, which can easily cause cardiac arrest. Furthermore, the lack of oxygen due to respiratory depression can lead to irregular heartbeat.

Side Effects of Cocaine on the Heart

illegal drugsCocaine is a central nervous system stimulant responsible for more heart attack deaths than any other drug. Regular cocaine use leads to high blood pressure, problems with arteries and damaged heart muscles. Irregular heart rate and high blood pressure in some cases cause disturbing chest pains.
Studies have shown that cocaine users are at a higher risk of suffering a heart attack and stroke than non- users. Furthermore, a condition called Cardiomyopathy is a common disease amongst cocaine users. It causes heart ventricles to expand, which consequently leads to aortic rupture.
Also, high blood pressure caused by cocaine use leads to stiff blood vessels. As the heart becomes unable to pump blood hard enough, it becomes thicker. Similarly to heroin, cocaine use can also cause endocarditis.

Side Effects of MDMA on the Heart

MDMA, or commonly known as Ecstasy causes high or low blood pressure and irregular heart rate. This might lead to heart failure. The mechanism of action is not quite clear. However, what we do know is that affects the autonomic nervous system, which leads to irregular heart rhythm. Also, Ecstasy can cause severe inflammation of the heart tissue.

Side Effects of LSD on the Heart

LSD is one of the most used hallucinogenic drugs. If taken in large doses, it can cause a heart attack. Also, this substance can cause high blood pressure and high heart rate. You can mistake the panic attack effect of LSD for a heart attack. When experiencing this unpleasant side effect, a person might experience chest pains, shortness of breath, and extreme anxiety. You shouldn’t neglect these symptoms. Furthermore, you should treat them professionally and immediately.

Side Effects of Methamphetamine on the Heart

MethMethamphetamine is a highly addictive central nervous system stimulant. Abuse of this drug can cause many negative effects on the heart.

A higher heart rate and high blood pressure are the first signs that meth is causing serious heart damage. Later on, the heart becomes weaker and unable to pump enough blood. This leads to heart enlargement, low blood flow to the organs, and heart failure.

When it comes to blood vessels, meth can cause serious damage. In methamphetamine users, the drug deposits the metabolites on the walls of blood vessels which can lead to inflammation.

Do Not Underestimate Negative Effects Of Drugs

Addiction to illegal substances may commence for numerous reasons. For example, they include depression, peer pressure, or family and financial problems. Some individuals find illegal drugs to be an escape from their daily predicaments. As a result, they cannot help but fall victim to this damaging habit. Even though there are numerous drug-related warnings available everywhere, it’s still a serious problem. You’ll see lots of anti-drug adverts when you’re surfing the web or just walking the down the street. Sometimes, people brave the ill-effects of the drug without realizing that they might be stepping into a life-threatening situation. Thus, before you say “yes” to drugs, make sure to educate yourself sufficiently on this topic. Furthermore, do not underestimate their negative (and often deadly) effects they can have on your heart and overall health.

Page Sources

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  2. Trung Nguyen ML, Ancion A, Tridetti J, Lancellotti P, Cardiovascular effects of alcohol consumption,
  3. Kaplan A, Abidi E, Ghali R, Booz GW, Kobeissy F, Zouein FA, Functional, Cellular, and Molecular Remodeling of the Heart under Influence of Oxidative Cigarette Tobacco Smoke,

Published on: May 16th, 2018

Updated on: February 23rd, 2021


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