Can Meth Cause Heart Failure? The Shocking Truth

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive powerful stimulant the affects the nervous system of the human body. The way meth affects the heart can present fatal consequences to a person that misuses the substance.

Methamphetamine has effects on the heart, including rapid heart rate, irregular rate, and elevated blood pressure. Often meth use comes at the sacrifice of food and sleep, further complicating the issue.

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Understanding The Facts of Meth Use

Meth causes an intense chemical dependency on the brain. It is chemically similar to amphetamine that treats attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, a sleep disorder. Most methamphetamine that comes through the United States comes from south of the border in Mexico.

Meth has surfaced recently in Southeast Asia as well. The drug can be manufactured in small clandestine labs or even at home. The production of meth also includes a lot of dangerous chemicals.

The main ingredient is pseudoephedrine, which can be found in most cold medications. Federal law requires stores to keep a record of the purchase to halt production and keep track of distribution.

The toxins that meth produces can linger in the production area well after. The fumes alone can cause health problems for people living in the immediate area. The chemicals can also produce deadly lab explosions and house fires.

People who frequently use meth experience a “binge and crash” cycle.  People go on binges on meth; a process is known as a “run.” Meth users often stop eating and sleeping while continuing to take meth for many days.

How Does Meth Use Affect the Heart?

Meth is becoming more popular and widely used across the U.S. There has been a surge of visits to the emergency room over the years. According to a study published last fall, an increase in amphetamine-related admissions to hospitals soared by more than 270% between 2008 and 2015.

Cardiovascular disease for meth users tends to be prevalent in the younger generation. Medical experts are stunned by how meth affects the heart and the rising death tolls. The presence of meth rewires the electrical system of the heart and alters it to unhealthy proportions.

There are many ways that meth affects the heart; like anything, too much of anything is no good. Especially with how toxic meth is, meth can make the heart stop when it has had enough. Doctors attribute these meth overdose deaths to the strain that meth puts on the cardiovascular system.

The heart is what keeps your body going every day and should be taken care of, not abused.

It’s no surprise that meth and heart disease are closely related. There are two types of heart disease, coronary artery condition, and cardiomyopathy, also known as heart muscle disease.

A continued addiction to meth can be a death sentence, but it doesn’t have to be.

Now there is no amount of meth that is measurable that can be considered as “hot dose.” A lethal dose varies from person to person and their tolerance. The risk of an overdose is higher when meth is mixed with opiates, cocaine, and alcohol.

High amounts of meth chemicals can be very toxic and increase the muscles in the heart because of fibrous tissue. There is also creates the narrowing and the spasms of the blood vessels. There are also rapid heartbeats, hypertension, and heart attacks.

With all the research and the dangers meth presents, there needs to be more awareness among people of all ages. Prevention and early intervention techniques can help lower negative outcomes associated with meth addiction. Even if a person is in the middle of addiction to meth, help is available, and intervention works!

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Other Ways Meth Affects the Body

Meth can expose people to significant bodily damage. To further complicate things, some meth products out on the streets can be mixed with synthetic opioids and fentanyl.
The consequences meth not only affects the heart but the entire body. For starters, when a person injects methamphetamine, they are at a high risk of getting hepatitis B and C and HIV. Meth can also lead to heart disease. A person can get these diseases by contact with the fluids that are on previously used drug equipment. When someone is under the influence, the substance can lead to poor judgment and bad decision-making.

There are some doses of meth can that bring similar health effects to cocaine and amphetamines. The long-term effects have an even more negative impact on the human body in the long run.

The Short-Term Effects:

  • Heightened physical activity and wakefulness
  • No appetite
  • Elevated heart and breathing

Long-Term Effects:

  • extreme weight loss
  • addiction
  • severe dental problems (“meth mouth”)
  • intense itching, leading to skin sores from scratching
  • anxiety
  • changes in brain structure and function
  • confusion
  • memory loss
  • sleeping problems
  • violent behavior
  • paranoia—extreme and unreasonable distrust of others
  • hallucinations—sensations and images that seem real, though, but they are not.

Methamphetamine Treatment Options

When a person overdoses on meth, it affects the vital organs and can cause them to fail. There is a sense of urgency during overdose intervention to prevent strokes, heart attacks, and heart failure because of the devastating impact meth has on the cardiovascular system.

Sometimes an overdose can be a wake-up call for an addicted person. They realize that there may be a problem, and they need help. Before a person can start treatment, there should be a period of detox for almost all meth users. Detox purges the toxins of meth from the body and clears their mind.

The withdrawal symptoms can last between 7 to 14 days and include anxiety, fatigue, serve depression, and psychosis. There are also cravings, as abstinence is the key to breaking the cycle of meth addiction.

As research continues, there is no government-endorsed medication to treat a person with an addiction to meth. There is progress on the horizon that includes vaccines and noninvasive stimulation of the brain utilizing magnetic fields.

Meth addiction is treatable through behavioral therapies. Cognitive-behavioral therapy assists people addicted to meth in recognizing, avoiding, and coping for scenarios that will likely lead to drug use. When an addict sees success in a therapy program, there are rewards for staying sober with small cash awards and other incentives. An effective way to beat a meth addiction is to be in a program that fits individual needs.

The program should also address the influx of medical and personal problems that a long-term addiction brings. While inpatient treatment may be pricey and less common, it is the most practical way to beat addiction.

There are also residential and outpatient treatment options available. However, with how dangerous meth is, there is more benefit with treatment being more intense. Though meth affects the heart, it is crucial to look after the heart and make sure it continues to beat strong as you eventually move to a clean and sober life.

Protect Your Heart and Body: Get Help for Methamphetamine Abuse Today

The way meth influences the human heart is like going to the electric chair. When the addict is living in the moment and consuming by smoking or injecting, they are not thinking about the long-term effects.

They are escaping from the larger problems that are happening in their lives. Substance abuse is essentially a symptom of the real issues that an addict is enduring. Rehab treatment provides light at the end of the tunnel.

The physical pain and emotional pain that come with the everyday fight can be taxing. The ride the meth can put an addict to escape is good for them now. But can ultimately lead to implications that are fatal when a person is clean and sober.

Through awareness and stories of past successes of individuals beating addiction, addiction can be prevented. Treatment programs provide people with an education to avoid the traps or even get the necessary wake-up call to turn things around.

There comes a moment in the life of an addict where the ride is not worth it anymore. With addiction, a person loses too much, their job, money, family, friends, and eventually their life. While is life is short and is a gift that people can take for granted. Why shorten it with stuff that causes pain to you and the people around you.

Additional Sources of Information

Heart.org Meth Use Crisis

Drugabuse.gov Drug Facts: Methamphetamine

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ABTRS Writers

ABTRS Writers

The ABTRS Writing team is a group of writers specializing in addiction and recovery topics.

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