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How Does Cocaine Affect the Heart?

How Cocaine Affects The Heart Resurgence Behavioral Health

How Cocaine Affects the Heart

While it’s true that cocaine can have an adverse impact on seemingly every aspect of your life, did you know that cocaine addiction can have a direct effect on your heart? It’s no surprise that your body produces and maintains a variety of different hormones that help to maintain a normal and healthy body function. One such example is a hormone called catecholamines.

Continuous cocaine use has been shown to impede the balance of catecholamines leading to heart damage. The reason for this is that cocaine prevents the body from regulating catecholamines at the level that it should which can trigger certain reactions. For example, certain chemicals may be produced for longer periods of time including norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. All of these chemicals and hormones have an impact on how your heart responds and, over time, when the heart is exposed to this irregularity, could cause serious heart health concerns.  

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Irregular Heartbeat

An irregular heartbeat can make you feel as though you can’t catch your breath. An irregular heartbeat is also known as arrhythmia. When you consume cocaine, your body begins to naturally block the flow of potassium and sodium ions to the muscles in your heart which are necessary to maintain a regular heart rhythm. There are several different types of arrhythmias including a bundle branch block, sinus tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation, and sinus bradycardia.


Hypertension is commonly referred to as high blood pressure. The heart regulates the amount of blood that pumps through your heart and the rest of your body. A normal blood pressure reading is 120/80 although sometimes it can be slightly lower or slightly higher. Cocaine can cause your blood vessels to become thinner which means that your heart has to work harder to push blood through this organ causing your blood pressure to rise to dangerously high levels.

Heart Attack

Cocaine is commonly referred to as the “perfect heart-attack drug” simply because it can easily trigger a heart attack regardless of whether you have used the drug once or multiple times. Not only will cocaine cause high blood pressure but it can also cause your blood vessel to stiffen, all of which stops the proper amount of blood flood to pump through your vessels. Cocaine can also clot and block blood vessels which can cause a heart attack at any given time.


Did you know that 73% of people who have a stroke as a result of their cocaine addiction do not have any other contributing factors? Although it’s not 100% known what causes a stroke, it’s suspected that the impure substance factors in cocaine are the trigger. Ischemic strokes and hemorrhagic strokes are examples of strokes that you may experience when you have an addiction to cocaine. It’s important to understand that strokes can have potentially deadly consequences.

Get Help for Cocaine Addiction at Resurgence Behavioral Health

If you’re suffering from cocaine addiction, the Resurgence Behavioral Health team is always available to provide you with the support that you need to work through your substance abuse so that you can go on to live a healthier life. We understand the struggles often associated with addiction which is why we work tirelessly to create an environment that is judgment and stigma-free so that you feel 100% comfortable throughout your time at our treatment facility. When you’re ready to learn more about your options for recovery at Resurgence Behavioral Health, please reach out to us at (855) 458-0050. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you through this important time in your life. 

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