Cocaine and Its Effects

A person who uses cocaine on a regular basis should be aware of the harm to his (or her) health that is occurring as the drug use continues. 

A cocaine user will have stiffer, more inflexible arteries, high blood pressure, and thicker heart wall muscle than people who do not use cocaine. These three effects add up to making the heart less efficient and more subject to serious damage from heart attacks. 

These results were documented in a 2012 conference of the American Heart Association. Australian researchers performed MRIs on 20 otherwise healthy adults who chronically used the drug. They compared the results with 20 non-users. They found that the the cocaine users suffered: 

30 percent to 35 percent increase in aortic stiffening

8 mm Hg higher systolic blood pressure

18 percent greater thickness of the heart’s left ventricle wall.

The lead researcher said, “It is so sad. We are repeatedly seeing young, otherwise fit individuals suffering massive heart attacks related to cocaine use. Despite being well-educated professionals, they have no knowledge of the health consequences of regularly using cocaine. It is the perfect heart attack drug. The combined effects of greater blood clotting, increased heart stress, and more blood vessel constriction put users at high risk of a spontaneous heart attack.”

For this study, the researchers recruited 17 male and 3 female recreational cocaine users, average age 37. These people reported using cocaine at least once a month for the last year. They filled out questionnaires about their drug use as well as other information. At least 48 hours after their last cocaine use, volunteers had their blood pressure taken then they did MRIs to look at the heart mass and levels of heart functioning. Researchers then compared the results of the users and non-users to determine these results. 

When a person gets addicted to cocaine, he can no longer control his use of the drug, whether it is harming him physically or mentally. Once addiction has taken over, his behavior in life will also change completely. He will do what it takes to get his fix, even if it harms those he cares about. If you notice a friend or a family member who is headed in this direction, please get them some help. Cocaine is a powerful drug and can destroy everything good in a person’s life before he even knows what happened.