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Opioid crisis raises concern about its impact on cardiovascular health

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) revealed that more than 130 people in the United States lose their lives every day due to opioid overdose. Around one out of four individuals prescribed opioids by their physicians is believed to misuse them. Opioids are usually prescribed in the form of painkillers to deal with chronic pain issues.

In the wake of the ongoing opioid crisis, people are getting worried about the dangers associated with abusing opioids and their impact on various organs of the body, including the heart. Drug overdose is a growing concern across the U.S. and a myriad of studies have emerged pertaining to the cardiovascular risks associated with opioid and methamphetamine abuse.

Harmful effects of opioids on heart

According to a recent study, abusing opioids increases the risk of atrial fibrillation (AFib), a form of irregular heart rhythm that may lead to stroke. For the purpose of this study, the researchers reviewed the medical records of 857,000 young and middle-aged military veterans. After analysis, the researchers arrived at the conclusion that using opioids increased the risk of AFib by 34 percent.

A lot of people injecting methamphetamines and opioids like heroin are at an increased risk of developing endocarditis, a serious heart infection. Considering this, the American Heart Association (AHA) launched self-directed training courses for community members and health care providers in December 2018. These courses were aimed at increasing awareness about how to handle an opioid overdose emergency. The course entailed CPR instructions and the usage of naloxone, a drug used for reversing opioid overdose.

Recreational stimulants such as methamphetamine, when taken in small doses, increases physical activity and wakefulness and decreases appetite. However, it can also lead to a lot of cardiovascular issues such as increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and irregular heartbeat. Further, methamphetamine overdose may lead to hyperthermia and convulsions. If not treated immediately, it may also lead to death.

Anyone can get addicted to opioids

An assistant professor at the University of California, Dr. Isac Thomas said that opioid addiction does not respect any boundaries and may impact people from any age group and economic background. According to Thomas, meth-induced heart attacks are taking the form of an epidemic, especially among teenagers.

Opioid addiction has become a disease and a lot of people across the U.S. are getting affected by new cardiovascular disorders, developed as a result of this. Dr. Thomas said that he is not sure if the medical fraternity is well equipped to deal with this crisis. He said that medical practitioners must educate themselves and take the support of addiction counselors and social workers to care for such patients.

Recovering from opioid addiction

Opioid addiction has become a national health crisis in the United States and is presently posing a huge threat on public health. Unfortunately, even in financial terms, the opioid crisis has proved to be a burden on economic and social welfare. Ironically, the number of deaths due to opioid overdose continues to rise. Opioid addiction, like any other kind of addiction, is difficult to overcome on its own. One needs professional intervention to deal with opioid addiction.

If you or a loved one is battling opioid addiction and are looking for reliable drug rehab help, feel free to get in touch with 24/7 recovery helpline. Being a repository of resources to help one overcome their addiction to drugs, alcohol or other substances, we can help you look for comprehensive evidence-based treatment plans based on your needs. Call our 24 hour drug helpline 855-441-4405 or chat online with our experts who can guide you with opioid addiction help and suggest detox programs available near you.

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