Invincibility is a state of mind that is unique to comic books and young adults. While it is clearly false, all can remember that time when they felt invincible; unable to be hurt or at the very least, free of any imminent danger of long-term injury. That is what youth is all about right? Flexibility, endurance, strength and an ability to recover from any injury quickly. Young adults do not think about injury or their health. Issues such as heart problems, liver damage, lung disease or other illness is the furthest thing from their minds. The problem with this type of thinking is that what is done in the past will always catch up in the future. Heart related problems are a common cause of hospitalization and death. These issues can be directly traced back to decisions made in our youth. Not eating correctly, lack of exercise and using and/or abusing drugs and alcohol. Can past drug use lead to a weakened heart? Can it have an effect on the overall health of the heart and cardiovascular system? Of course. The recent and tragic death of beloved star Carrie Fisher, whose cause of death is not official, yet she was admitted to a hospital days before due to a heart attack, has directed more light on substance abuse and heart problems. She was open about her past drug abuse and addiction. Substance abuse and addiction can cause serious damage to the body, which can ultimately lead to severe health concerns.

Cocaine Use and Heart Problems

Cocaine was a very popular drug in the past but continues to be used regularly as a recreational drug in the United States. Small doses of the drug create quick bursts of euphoria and energy. It also temporarily decreases the need for sleep and food. The high from this drug lasts a relatively short amount of time. The quick rush is followed by an even quicker crash. People use this drug to get energy for physical or mental tasks, but the long term effects can be severe. The short-term physiological effects of the drug include a constriction of the blood vessels, increased body heat, increased heart rate, and increased blood pressure. Large amounts of this drug could cause erratic, strange and even violent behavior. It is commonly consumed with alcohol, which further complicates the problems. The combination of the drugs creates Cocaethylene which can drastically damage the heart. The long-term effects of cocaine are damaging to the heart and whole cardiovascular system. It can create disturbances in heart rhythm and heart attacks. Cocaine is one of the most dangerous drugs to the heart. It is also the drug that Carrie Fisher said was used regularly on the set of some of the Star Wars movies. It is linked to increased risk of stroke, inflammation of the heart muscle, deteriorates the heart’s ability to contract, and aortic ruptures; this all according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Is past drug use to blame for a weakened heart? Yes, it is clearly a cause for concern.

Getting Healthy

With all these facts in mind, is it possible to get healthy after past drug use and possible abuse? Of course, it is. It is not easy, but rebuilding the heart’s strength is possible. No one is perfect. Experimental drug use is dangerous but common. Substance abuse and addiction is prevalent in this nation, but it can be combatted. Properly dealing with stress is a great start. Everyone has stress, but different ways to deal with it. Talking about your problems or speaking with in group therapy is a great stress reliever. Exercise and physical activity is not only a great way to deal with stress but is another way to strengthen the heart. Finally, eating healthy is wonderful for heart health. These three tips can help rebuild heart health and reverse the damages of substance abuse.