Reading Time: 9 minutes
Medically Reviewed By:
Dr. Patricia Sullivan MD MPH on 10/25/2021
What Heroin Does To Your Heart
How does Heroin affect the heart? To answer, Heroin use over long periods affects the heart in a very negative way. Consistently taking any form of Heroin will cause your body to go through many negative changes, and the heart is no exception. Your brain chemically changes to crave Heroin to function, your body begins to have complications, and your heart could suffer permanent damages. Cardiovascular problems and drug abuse have proven to be connected.
If you or someone you love is suffering from heroin addiction, let us help you. The sooner you seek treatment and receive medical attention, the more likely you will be able to heal from the damages your brain, body, and heart have endured.
Call us today at (888) 906-0952, and we can guide you through this process of healing and becoming sober.
- Understanding How Heroin Addiction Forms
- Bacteria Damaging Heart Tissue
- Slow and Irregular Heartbeat
- The Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Heroin
- Heroin Withdrawal Process
- What to Expect During the Heroin Detox Process
- Treatments and Therapies for Heroin Addiction
Understanding How Heroin Addiction Forms
Heroin floods the brain and body quickly. The chemical makeup of Heroin binds to opioid receptors that activate what humans experience as pleasure. The receptors connect to our feelings, our breathing, our heart rate, and even our sleeping. Heroin is the substance that activates these receptors, and over time, the brain changes by these chemical reactions.
The release of dopamine is what we interpret as pleasure. It is a chemical reward that our brain gives us. Unfortunately, when Heroin produces this pleasure, it teaches the brain that this behavior is good and should be reinforced.
As Heroin is continuously taken into the body, the brain cannot produce its natural dopamine and solely relies on the drug. Thus, an addiction has formed to Heroin, and the individual can no longer stop taking it without medical assistance.
Usually, with any addiction, the drug is cycled throughout the body, probably almost every day. As time goes on with this repeated behavior, the body and heart will begin to suffer. The effects of Heroin on the heart become severe and, if untreated, can result in multiple forms of heart failure.
Heroin and Bacteria Damaging Heart Tissue
Heroin and cocaine are illegal drugs that cause heart attacks when using excessive continuous amounts. The damage happens because, over time, the heart becomes inflamed and infected from Heroin.
When users inject Heroin into the skin, infection is more likely to form and will be carried through the bloodstream into the heart. People can rarely find and use pure Heroin. Therefore, Heroin on the streets is usually mixed with other unsafe substances.
Some examples are starch, rat poison, and other drugs like cocaine. Some of these additives do not dissolve into the bloodstream but instead clog the blood vessels causing an infection.
It only takes a couple of injections to create this kind of infection, leading to the possibility of cells being killed off in organs throughout the body.
Signs Of Endocarditis
Endocarditis is when the inner lining of your heart valves and chambers become infected by the process of affected bloodstream. Thus, your heart tissue has suffered severe damage and is now vulnerable.
Signs of this include nausea, decreased appetite, blood in urine, joint or muscle pain, and swollen abdomen or feet. People may also have purple or red spots near their fingernails and toes that are tender.
If Endocarditis develops in the heart, then the tissue is severely damaged. Endocarditis then creates a domino effect of problems. According to the American College of Cardiology, if heart tissue is damaged, an individual is at an increased risk of heart failure and stroke.
These problems can even continue after the tissue has healed and the infection is gone. Problems may persist because heroin drug abuse causes cardiovascular problems that take years to heal especially depending on how long the individual was using.
Damaging the tissue is how Heroin affects the heart the most, making it incredibly vulnerable to other fatal risks.
Heroin Causes Slow And Irregular Heartbeat
The effects of Heroin on the heart include the rhythm and rate of your heartbeat. If you have been using Heroin for a long time, you may have a condition called bradycardia.
Bradycardia is a medical term that means your heart rate is very slow. A regular heartbeat is supposed to be between 60 and 100 beats per minute.
Blood and oxygen are being pumped and moved throughout your body for you to function and participate in physical activity.
Although if you are a heroin user, your heartbeat will fall below 60 beats per minute, and you won’t be able to participate in physical activities that you might once have been able to.
The signs of bradycardia include chest pains, shortness of breath, near fainting, trouble concentrating, easily tiredness, lightheadedness, and dizziness.
Unfortunately, if your condition is too severe, you might have to have a pacemaker for the rest of your life to create a healthy heart rate. Another effect of Heroin on the heartbeat is arrhythmia.
You could develop atrial fibrillation, where it beats irregularly instead of the heartbeat slowing down.
These effects of Heroin on the heart can result in heart failure, strokes, and blood clots. Heart failure happens because the heart beats out of sync, and blood is not moved correctly throughout the heart and body.
Additionally, blood clots can form, resulting in the possibility of them getting lodged and blocking proper blood flow. The signs of atrial fibrillation include nausea, dramatic increase or decrease of heart rate, trouble breathing, feeling weak and lightheaded.
The Short-Term And Long-Term Effects Of Heroin
The American Heart Association stated that Heroin increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and overall heart failure. Heart failure is due to a domino effect; Heroin opens the door to dangerous diseases and outcomes by making the heart vulnerable to many other risks.
Therefore, the effects of Heroin on the heart are not the only danger your body faces. Both short and long-term effects exist that Heroin can cause throughout your entire body.
Short-Term Effects Of Heroin On The Body Include:
- dry mouth
- warm flushing of the skin
- heavy feeling in the arms and legs
- nausea and vomiting
- severe itching
- clouded mental functioning
- back-and-forth state of being conscious and subconscious
These effects can be experienced during the use of Heroin and can linger for a couple of hours or days.
However, if an individual is a continuous heroin user, they can develop long-term damages to their body.
Long-Term Effects Include:
- damaged tissue inside the nose for people who sniff or snort it
- collapsed veins for people who inject
- abscesses (swollen tissue filled with pus)
- constipation and stomach cramping
- liver and kidney disease
- lung complications, including pneumonia
- mental disorders such as depression and antisocial personality disorder
- sexual dysfunction for men
- irregular menstrual cycles for women
If you or a loved one is addicted to Heroin, call us as soon as possible. It is better to call before these side effects become worse. Some of these effects can be reversible if correctly treated within a certain time frame.
We are here to educate and help you now. Do not hesitate to reach out to us today because our experts can guide you towards the correct medical treatment that could save your life.
The Heroin Withdrawal Process
If you are trying to become clean from Heroin, the first step should be to call us to find you a treatment center. If you want to stop using Heroin, your body will be very confused about why it is no longer receiving the substance.
Your body has relied on Heroin for so long that if you dramatically take it away, your body can go into shock. You will experience withdrawal symptoms that can be quite uncomfortable or painful.
The detoxification process is best accomplished under medical supervision. You don’t know the exact effects that Heroin has been doing on your body. Everyone is different.
The effects depend on how much Heroin you have been taking, for how long, and how consistently. Therefore, dramatically taking this substance away on your own isn’t safe.
What To Expect During Withdrawal From Heroin
The withdrawal process could cause you to crave Heroin even more due to painful side effects. All of these withdrawal symptoms could discourage you from ever becoming clean. But if you call us instead, we can help you begin the journey of detox in a safe and comfortable environment.
When you enter treatment, you will be supervised 24/7 as you detox from Heroin. You will have access to any medical attention that you need to get through heroin detox.
Sometimes you can even be given anti-craving medications that help ease withdrawal side effects. It is incredibly safer to withdraw from Heroin in a treatment center. If you want to attempt detox currently on your own, pick up the phone right now. We can make this process so much easier for you.
Heroin Addiction Treatment And Therapy
The effects of Heroin on the heart and its addictive qualities can be overcome through treatment and therapy. By calling us, we can direct you to the correct type of treatment center.
Depending on your current condition, you can choose from either inpatient or outpatient treatment, and from there, certain facilities offer specific types of treatment and therapy.
Using treatments, medication, and therapy altogether is the most effective approach to healing addiction. Addiction treatment is meant to help patients stop their drug use and learn to get back to their normal lives without substance abuse.
The purpose of therapies such as behavioral is to help these individuals figure out what behaviors lead them to use drugs and how to modify the behaviors positively.
Don’t let Heroin, cocaine, or any other illegal drugs that cause heart attacks, diseases, or disorders ruin your life. Call us today at (888) 906-0952 before you suffer unnecessary pain and struggle.
We are here for any questions or concerns you may have. No question is too little or too small. We are here to help you.
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