Controlling Cocaine Use Can Help Overcome Heart Ailments, Says Study

Most illegal drugs are prone to leave long-lasting adverse impact on the human body and mind. However, when it comes to the delicate organs like heart, the effects could be much more devastating. Use of addictive substances can lead to an array of cardiovascular problems, such as abnormal heart rate and heart attack.

Cocaine is a powerful drug that usually comes in a powdered form and inhaled or dissolved in water to be injected into the bloodstream directly. Its regular use can cause high blood pressure, apart from leading to other symptoms like stiffer arteries and thicker heart muscle walls which can lead to a heart attack. However, all these defects associated with cocaine abuse can be effectively reduced if someone stops using the drug altogether and gets access to proper treatment for addiction.

A recent study, published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, the official journal of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), has highlighted that reducing or stopping cocaine use is the best way to reverse the process of coronary atherosclerosis — a major killer due to hardening of arteries.

Cocaine and heart disease

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), cocaine is a harmful drug most often associated with increasing visits to the emergency department. Basically, cocaine is a stimulant whose intake pumps adrenaline through the body, as it would happen in case of frightening situations. The rush of adrenaline leads to an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, which further causes pain in the chest, leading to a heart attack.

A regular cocaine use can also result in cardiomyopathy, which is characterized by enlargement of heart ventricles. According to the AHA, cocaine use can also be the root cause of various other heart ailments, such as myocarditis, which causes an inflammation in the heart muscles. The study led by Dr. Shenghan Lai of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, focused on the impact of discontinuing drug use. According to the study, “Reducing cocaine use leads to regression of unstable, noncalcified coronary plaques — the type most likely to cause a heart attack or stroke.”

The study followed 15 patients with cocaine use for an average of 20 years. The participants suffered from atherosclerosis that caused more than 50 percent blockage of the coronary arteries. After assessing the characteristic features of the coronary plaque, the researchers revealed that there was a marked reduction in atherosclerotic plaques in the coronary arteries following a decreased cocaine use. “The reduction was significant not only for total coronary plaques, but also for noncalcified plaques — the first step in the development of coronary atherosclerosis,” observed the study.

It is important to note that when compared to calcified plaques, non-calcified plaques not only develop early but also are at a higher risk of getting ruptured and causing a heart attack or a stroke.

Recovery road map

Many Americans frequently visit hospital emergency departments due to cocaine overdoses. Addiction to any drug, including cocaine, has hazardous effects, so it is imperative that one seeks timely treatment to get rid of dependence. People addicted to drugs need to realize that they are trapped in a vicious cycle and any delay in seeking treatment will worsen their condition.

If you or someone you know is addicted to cocaine or any other legal or illegal drug, you can seek help and necessary support from the Arizona Drug Addiction Help. Our experts can help you with the relevant information on the best drug addiction treatment in Arizona. Call our 24/7 helpline number 866–576–4147 to get in touch with one of our representatives who can assist you with complete information on the reputable drug addiction treatment centers in Arizona.