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The effects of drugs on your heart

Every February, the British Heart Foundation celebrates Heart Month to encourage everyone to make small changes towards a healthier lifestyle. In the spirit of their campaign, Port of Call takes a look at the dangerous effects of drugs on your heart. If you think you have a drug problem and need to talk about your options, Port of Call can advise you on the next step to take, whether that is detox or drug rehab

Know your heart – this tool is designed to help you learn how your heart works. It also helps to explain what you can do to help keep your heart healthy and lower your risk of getting cardiovascular disease.

Physical effects of drugs

Diseases of the heart and circulatory system (or CVD) were the second most common cause of death in the United Kingdom in 2014, with a total of around 155,000 deaths. The physical effects of certain recreational drugs are known to have a negative impact on heart health. So if you’ve ever wondered what the effects of drug abuse can have on your heart, then we’ve compiled some facts to get to the heart of the matter.

Dangerous effects of drugs

Substance abuse can result in cardiovascular conditions, from an abnormal heart rate to a full-blown heart attack. The liver also has to work harder, when processing illicit substances, which can cause significant damage or liver failure in the longer term. It can also lead to seizures, stroke and mental issues like memory problems, impaired attention and decision-making and permanent brain damage.

Physical lows of legal highs

Stimulant legal highs, which act like amphetamines, cocaine or ecstasy can make you feel overconfident and disinhibited, induce feelings of anxiety, panic, confusion, paranoia, and even cause psychosis, which can lead you to put your own safety at risk. This type of drugs can put a strain on your heart and nervous system. Just because a substance is sold as ‘legal’ doesn’t mean that it’s safe or legal – people had died after taking so-called legal highs.

Effects of Mephedrone abuse

Class B drug Mephedrone (aka ‘meow meow’ or ‘M-CAT’) is a powerful stimulant that is often described as a mix between amphetamines, ecstasy and cocaine. It can make users feel euphoric, alert, confident, talkative and, in some cases, feel strong affection for those around them. But it can also lead to sickness, paranoia and anxiety, and damage to the heart and circulation. Plus, there is a risk of over-stimulating the nervous system, which may cause hallucinations, agitation and even fits.

Speed strains your heart

Speed is the street name for the Class B drug amphetamine sulphate. Sometimes speed is used to refer to other types of amphetamines. It is a stimulant and people take ‘speed’ to keep them awake, energised and alert. Speed puts a strain on your heart, so it’s definitely not advisable for people with high blood pressure or a heart condition – users have died from taking too much.

Ecstasy can be deadly

Using Ecstasy has been linked to liver, kidney and heart problems. Anyone with a heart condition, blood pressure problems, epilepsy or asthma can have a very dangerous reaction to the drug. Between 1996 and 2014 in England and Wales there were 670 deaths in which ecstasy/MDMA was recorded on the death certificate.

Make us your first Port of Call. If you, or a loved one, are dealing with drug addiction we can help you to access the right addiction help at the right time. Take the first step today by speaking to one of our advisers for free. We can help you find the rehab that is right for you. Call 08000029010, text PORT to 82228 and we’ll call you back, or email help@portofcall.com.

About the author: Alex Molyneux

Alex is our admissions team leader. Over the last 5 years he has spoken with more than 10,000 people via our helpline and has organised over 1,000 detox and rehabilitation placements.

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