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Why Can Cocaine Cause Heart Attacks?

A man suffering from a heart attack outside his home.

How cocaine affects your heart is akin to a cheetah’s burst of speed when hunting. A cheetah can run upwards of 70 miles an hour, but it can only sustain that speed for a short time without its body temperature rising to dangerous levels. Cocaine use can be thought of in a similar way: When you abuse cocaine, you’re forcing your heart to sprint and strain in ways it wasn’t designed to. This can ultimately lead to heart attacks and other life-threatening conditions.

In this blog, we’ll explore how cocaine affects the heart, the damage that can occur to your cardiovascular health and the addiction treatment available to help.

How Cocaine Impacts Heart Health

To get a better understanding of why cocaine can cause heart attacks, let’s take a look at three specific side effects of cocaine abuse:

  • Increased Blood Pressure: Right after you use cocaine, your heart rate increases. When this happens, your body’s capillaries, which serve as the highway for your blood vessels, narrow. As a result, this increases your blood pressure and puts you at higher risk of suffering a heart attack.
  • Damage to Your Heart Muscle: Cocaine abuse can inflame and harden the heart muscle. When this occurs, your heart becomes less efficient at pumping blood. This strain on the heart muscle can lead to heart attacks and other life-threatening conditions.
  • Disruptions in Your Heart Rhythm: Cocaine can disrupt your heart’s electrical system and alter signals going to and from the heart. This can trigger conditions like irregular heartbeat and arrhythmias. Both of these conditions increase your risk of suffering a heart attack.

Cocaine Abuse, Heart Health and Nutrition

Because of the way cocaine impacts heart health, the drug can eventually lead to heart attacks. Cocaine can even trigger a heart attack after the very first time of use. In fact, many of the heart attacks caused by cocaine happen only an hour after you use the substance.

What makes this deadly side effect even more frightening is the fact that it carries a high risk for young people. According to a recent study, cocaine plays a role in roughly 25 percent of heart attacks that happen with people under the age of 45. It’s part of the reason why the American Heart Association calls cocaine “the perfect heart attack drug”.

It’s also common for people who struggle with cocaine addiction to have poor nutrition. The consumption of processed and unhealthy foods can clog your arteries and restrict blood flow to the heart, adding even more stress to your heart muscle than it’s already suffering from cocaine abuse. Poor diet caused by cocaine addiction can be an indirect trigger for a heart attack.

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Protect Your Heart with Expert Cocaine Addiction Treatment

As damaging as cocaine can be on your heart, the right addiction treatment program can help you recover and improve your cardiovascular health. One of the keys to overcoming cocaine abuse is uncovering the underlying cause of your addiction. That way, you can learn healthy ways to cope with your stress and move your life forward in the direction of lasting recovery.

By taking steps to move to lasting sobriety, you’ll also be protecting your heart. The opportunity for a fresh start is within your reach, and there are experts ready to help you along the way.

Break Free from Cocaine Abuse at Footprints Beachside Recovery

While cocaine may serve as short-term relief, the drug carries a high cost. Cocaine not only takes a toll on your health, but can make you feel isolated due to the stigma of addiction. At Footprints Beachside Recovery, we can help you break free from addiction.

We’ve been through addiction ourselves and know how hard your struggle can be on a daily basis. That’s why our family-run addiction treatment center in Florida focuses on healing the mind, body and spirit.

If you’re ready to uncover your potential for lasting recovery, we’re here to support you. Contact our admissions team today to see how we can help you restore your life after cocaine addiction.