Heart Problems Due to Meth Use and Treatment Facilities
Many people who use meth do not realize the damage that this drug can do to the heart. Using meth produces a false sense of well-being, energy, and euphoria. A person will push his or her body to their physical limits without thinking about the consequences. Long term use of meth can cause irreversible harm to the heart. These heart problems are the third most common reason meth users seek medical attention. Chronic use of meth can lead to the development of severe heart conditions, including heart failure. Among meth users, heart failure occurs more frequently in racial and ethnic minority populations.1
Meth Use, Addiction, and the Heart
Meth creates a chemical reaction in the brain and changes proteins there, which in turn creates inflammatory responses. Inflammation causes the heart and blood vessels to become damaged. As the heart and vessels become damaged, it takes longer for a person to feel the effects of the drug. This might be why users become so tolerant relatively quickly. Over time, prolonged use of meth reprograms the brain to only function when the chemical reactions from meth are introduced to the brain.
How Does Meth Affect the Heart?
Meth is a highly addictive substance that affects the central nervous system. Over time, using meth repeatedly causes the heart muscle to become enlarged, rigid, and thick. This makes it harder for the heart to pump blood. When a person takes meth and pushes their body to physical extremes, it makes the heart work faster.
Heart strain results in palpitations in users. This makes the heart rate increase and over time will weaken the heart. The resulting loss of blood flow to the heart and other organs puts meth users at risk for stroke.2
The widespread use of meth is creating a challenging condition for cardiologists in the form of unique types of heart failure. Most meth users tend to be young and have poor prognoses. A recent study showed that meth users often have other substance abuse problems along with mood and anxiety disorders, which makes it even more difficult to accurately treat heart conditions.
Specific Cardiac Problems Related to Meth Use
There are specific cardiac problems that can be caused by meth use. These include:
- Arrhythmias occur when the heart beats irregularly. This is the most commonly reported adverse cardiovascular effect of meth use. It often involves shortness of breath and high blood pressure.
- Coronary artery disease. This is a form of chronic cardiovascular disease commonly associated with meth use. Chronic users are at higher risk for the premature and accelerated development of coronary artery disease because meth can induce cardiomyopathy. Cardiomyopathy is a heart disease that makes it harder for the blood to pump to the rest of the body.3
- Chest pain. Meth use can lead to chest pains and a feeling of heavy pressure on the heart. These are the first early warning signs of a heart attack. A 2012 study examined how meth use affects the hearts of rats. The study showed that meth use can cause arrhythmia, internal bleeding and heart failure.4
.The increased in blood pressure makes meth users at high risk for heart attacks and strokes. Even more alarming is that these factors also play a role in other heart-related conditions. The scariest reality is that even young meth users can die suddenly from heart attacks—even if they have no previous health issues.
Why Meth Is the Drug of Choice
In 2017, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that approximately 1.6 million people reported using in the last year. Of those, the average user is just 23.3. years old.5
Almost 1 million people report having a meth use disorder – that means, they have conditions that require medical attention and care, including heart problems and other disabilities.
Meth is often the preferred drug because of its affordability and availability.6
Finding Meth Addition Treatment Facilities
Meth is powerfully habit forming. Each time a hit of meth is inhaled, it can cause changes to key receptors in the brain and heart. This damage is often irreparable. The good news is that we understand the complexity of this problem and combine the most effective behavioral therapies for in-depth, comprehensive treatment. Call us today for a free assessment. We can answer your questions about treatment and help you locate options in your area. Get help today before it is too late.
- Mau, M.K., Asao, K., Efird, J., Ratner, R., Hafi, M., Seto, T. (2009). Risk factors associated with methamphetamine use and heart failure among native Hawaiians and other Pacific Island peoples. Vasc Health Risk Manag, 5(1):45–52.
- QutrioBaloch, Z., Hussain, M., Agha Abbas, S., Perez, J.L., Ayyaz,(2018). Methamphetamine-Induced Cardiomyopathy (MACM) in a Middle-Aged Man; a Case Report. Emerg (Tehran) 6(1):e9.
- Kaye, S., McKetin,, R. (2005) Cardiotoxicity associated with methamphetamine use and signs of cardiovascular pathology among methamphetamine users, Sydney: National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre.
- Reinberg, S. (n.d.). Methamphetamine Tied to Heart Problems.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019). Methamphetamine : What is the scope of methamphetamine misuse in the United States?
- Durell, T.M., Kroutil, L.A., Crits-Christoph, P., Barchha, N., Van Brunt, D.L. (2008). Prevalence of nonmedical methamphetamine use in the United States. Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy, 3:19.