August 2, 2011
Cocaine and Heart Disease
Cocaine has caused thousands of deaths in America. Many of these deaths are related to the effects of cocaine on the heart. Most people do not realise that cocaine can have serious – even deadly – effects on the heart.
The heart is a strong muscle about the size of a fist. It pumps blood with oxygen and other nutrients to the brain and the rest of the body.
Cocaine travels very quickly through the bloodstream to both the heart and brain. Cocaine in any form or amount interferes with the normal functions of the heart. It can seriously damage the heart and cause long term problems or even death.
Cocaine can cause heart attacks which can result in death:
Cocaine also acts like a poison that weakens the heart so it can’t keep blood flowing at a normal rate. The blood can get “backed up” in the vessels. This condition, called Congestive Heart Failure, can be fatal.
- It can cause the heart to beat so fast that it can’t get all the oxygen it needs.
- It can cause irregular heartbeats that can lead to cardiac arrest and sudden death.
- Cocaine can cause the blood vessels carrying blood to the heart to narrow and close completely. This interrupts the blood supply to the heart and a portion of the heart muscle can die.
Cocaine can also cause an enlarged heart and heart muscle weakness (called “cardiomyopathy”), which can lead to death.
People who are otherwise healthy can have a heart attack and die even if they use cocaine only once. People who already have heart disease or defects are at even greater risk of a heart attack if they use cocaine.
No amount of cocaine is safe. Death can occur the first time a very small amount is used. Other effects of long-term use include:
This information is provided only as an informational resource for consumers. For advice regarding a specific medical condition, please consult your personal physician.
- Addiction and extreme craving.
- Risk of getting AIDS virus or hepatitis (if cocaine is injected).
- Bronchitis, nasal ulcers, chronic cough.
- Panic, paranoia, appetite loss, restlessness, depression, violent or aggressive behavior.
- Harm to unborn babies.
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