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Substance Use And Cardiovascular Disease

Man dealing with substance abuse and cardiovascular disease

Several substances have been linked to cardiovascular disease. These substances, legal or otherwise, damage the heart in various ways. Prolonged use and polysubstance use can compound the risks associated with heart problems and cardiovascular disease.

If you or a loved one is concerned about substance abuse and cardiovascular disease, the substance abuse treatment center at Vertava Health can help. Contact us today at 888.601.8693 for more information about our treatment options.

What Is Cardiovascular Disease?

Any heart condition that involves damage to or dysfunction of the blood vessels is referred to as a cardiovascular disease. This is generally caused by atherosclerosis—the accumulation of plaque in the arteries.

Several different heart conditions fall into this category:

  • Coronary artery disease is caused when the buildup of plaque in the heart arteries disrupts blood flow. It can lead to chest pain (angina), heart attack, or stroke and may be fatal.
  • Heart failure is when the heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs.
  • Atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque in the arteries, is the most common cause of heart failure.
  • Arrhythmia, an irregular heartbeat. This can be caused by coronary artery disease, heart failure, cardiomyopathy, or other conditions.
  • Peripheral artery disease is caused by the buildup of plaque in the arteries that supply blood to the limbs. This can lead to pain, numbness, and eventually tissue death.
  • Aneurysm, a bulge or ballooning in an artery. This can happen anywhere in the body but is most common in the aorta (the main artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body). Aneurysms can rupture, causing life-threatening internal bleeding.

Substance Use And Cardiovascular Disease

Substance abuse and cardiovascular disease are linked because using substances can increase someone’s risk for heart disease. Substance use can cause:

  • Hypertension: high blood pressure; increases risk for many heart issues
  • Arrhythmia: irregular heart rate that may become serious or fatal
  • Coronary Thrombosis: a blood clot in the heart that can lead to a heart attack
  • Congestive Heart Failure: narrowed arteries lead to difficulty pumping or filling the heart
  • Hemorrhagic Stroke: blood vessels in the brain bursts (usually caused by hypertension)

When it comes to substance abuse and heart disease, several drugs, in particular, are known to cause dangers:

  • Cocaine — constricts blood vessels and increases heart rate; long-term use can lead to an enlarged heart, heart failure, or stroke
  • Meth — increases heart rate and blood pressure; long-term use can lead to an enlarged heart, heart failure, or stroke
  • Ecstasy — increases heart rate and can cause dehydration; long-term use can lead to heart failure
  • Steroids — increases the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and cardiomyopathy; long-term use can cause an enlarged heart
  • Alcohol — increases the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, cardiomyopathy, and arrhythmias; long-term use can lead to an enlarged heart

Find Help for Substance Use at Vertava Health

Substance and cardiovascular disease are linked, but you can decrease your risk by finding help for your substance use. Treatment for addiction can be personalized. Someone with a high risk of cardiovascular disease may be able to learn about fitness, nutrition, and new interests that promote a healthier lifestyle. An addiction treatment program can help someone break free from drug or alcohol use. Whether poor health is degrading someone’s quality of life or they are just beginning to recognize signs of addiction, there is hope.

Through methods like medication-assisted treatment, behavioral therapy, and community support groups, a person can revive their health and reclaim their life. Learn more about the customized addiction treatment programs at Vertava Health by contacting us online or calling us at 888.601.8693 today.