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6 Drugs that Damage Your Heart

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6 Drugs that Damage Your Heart

Looking at the physical damage many common drugs can do

Entering into addiction treatment is an important step toward living a healthier are more fulfilling life. In many cases, addiction can harm a person’s relationships and limit their ability to get ahead in life. Some people lose jobs, develop financial problems, or find themselves in trouble with the law due to addiction. On top of that, many commonly misused drugs have the potential to damage your heart. Here are a few examples:


Cocaine overdoses take thousands of lives each year, largely due to their ability to bring about sudden heart failure, but heart problems can still happen with smaller amounts when the drug is used over time. Those that use the drug experience more large and small heart attacks, strokes, arrhythmias that may be fatal or nonfatal, and aortic dissection, which is the tearing of a large blood vessel attached to the heart.

Other heart related conditions that are more common in cocaine users include inflammation of the heart muscle or in the heart’s inner lining, an enlarged heart, and blood clots.

Opiates – Opium, Heroin, Morphine

Opiates are often taken in order to reduce pain or anxiety, or simply to feel more relaxed. Whether the opiate taken is opium, heroin, morphine or some other type, heart problems are among the side effects of use. These drugs have the potential to slow down heart rate and cause infections to the valves or linings in the heart. The liver and kidneys can also be damaged with opiate usage.

Methamphetamine (Meth)

Meth is used for its stimulant properties and is classified in a similar way that drugs for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are. The drug can produce a temporary lift in mood, increase concentration, energy, and stamina. The harmful side effects are numerous, and affect more than the heart. Those who use the drug may experience heart problems that include an irregular heart beat, congestive heart failure, and inflammation to heart muscles and blood vessels.

Anabolic Steroids

Steroid abuse is most common in athletes, but besides being used to “bulk up” or increase athletic performance they are also sometimes used as stimulants and to encourage weight loss. However, the loss of the user’s overall heart health is a major concern. They can contribute to cholesterol problems by raising “bad” cholesterol levels and reducing “good” cholesterol, which may lead to heart disease. They can also aggravate a congenital heart defect which many people have, but don’t know about until the damage is done.


Drinking too much alcohol can damage the heart in direct and indirect ways. It can increase triglycerides, which can lead to heart disease. The increase also means more calories are consumed and the chance of obesity is increased, another major cause of heart problems. Cardiac arrhythmia, cardiac myopathy, and sudden heart failure can also occur, especially when binge drinking.


The addiction to nicotine can be very powerful, whether it is in the form of tobacco or in e-cigarettes. Nicotine use can lead to atherosclerosis, a disease where plaque builds up on arteries causing them to harden and become more narrow. This can reduce blood flow and cause heart attacks or strokes.

A Healthy Diet Can Offset Heart Problems

While realizing that your addiction may have led to heart problems, some comfort can be found in realizing that, along with an exercise plan, proper diet can help repair the damage you have done. The Malibu Beach Recovery Diet, based on maintaining a low glycemic index, improves overall heart health by reducing bad cholesterol and triglycerides and increasing good cholesterol levels. It also contributes to weight loss, which further reduces risks related to obesity.

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