Drug abuse has a detrimental effect on many of the body’s most important systems, including the circulatory system. It’s not just the heart that suffers, but your blood vessels and even your blood itself. We need the circulatory system because it refreshes our blood supply, replacing waste with oxygen and nutrients from food. When our circulatory system suffers, so does our overall health.
Drug Abuse and Your Circulatory System
No matter what type of drug someone abuses, they put their circulatory system at risk. These effects can be short or long-term, sudden or gradual. Drug abuse from injected drugs carries its own set of concerns, due to the method of use. The risk of these effects increases with continued use, but some symptoms, such as heart attacks, can even happen to a first-time user.
Abnormal heart rate
One of the immediate effects of drug abuse is an increased heart rate. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, even marijuana can increase your heart rate from 20 to 100 percent, an effect that can persist for up to 3 hours. This, in turn, can increase your risk of heart attack.
Cocaine is widely understood to cause heart problems and heart attacks, but it is not the only drug capable of doing so. Inhalant drug abuse has also been linked to heart attacks, even in adolescents and teenagers. Heart attacks due to cocaine use are most common in people aged 18 to 45.
Repeated drug abuse in the form of injecting drugs can result in collapsed or damaged veins. When a vein collapses, it cannot be repaired. Collapsed veins mean that the heart has to work harder to push blood through the body using the existing veins. Users may notice pain, swelling, and temperature fluctuation in their arms or legs.
Infection from intravenous drug abuse is a very real possibility. This can come from contaminated needles that pass an infection into your bloodstream. Hepatitis C and HIV are frequently associated with needle use, though they aren’t the only infections possible. Bacterial infections can also affect blood vessels and heart valves.
Thinking about the effects of drug abuse on the circulatory system can be upsetting, especially if you or someone you love is suffering from addiction. Treatment can be effective, and it can improve your overall mental and physical health. Taking the first step is often the most difficult, but it can be done. You can recover from drug addiction, and there are people waiting to help you.
If you or someone you love is suffering from the effects of alcohol abuse, substance addiction or any other type of addiction, please call us today. Our addiction treatment counselors can help you deal with physical, emotional and psychological consequences of drug and alcohol abuse. A substance abuse treatment program is effective, safe and has helped many men reclaim their lives. Destination Hope is a full service drug, alcohol and dual diagnosis treatment facility in Florida for men suffering from substance abuse and mental health issues.