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Heart Disease Associated with Cocaine

Heart Disease Associated with Cocaine

Most illegal drugs negatively impact cardiovascular health.

Among these, cocaine is known as one of the deadliest. Cocaine is a potent and highly addictive stimulant that works by attacking the central nervous system and disrupting normal brain functions. It causes a euphoric high, sending signals to the brain that increase energy and alertness. While this drug contributes to a variety of problems, cocaine and heart disease is the most common duo among addicts. Several studies have discovered different heart diseases associated with cocaine addiction. As a
drug and alcohol rehab facility in Palm Springs, we wanted to discuss each one.

Cardiovascular Diseases Caused by Cocaine Use

The use of cocaine and coronary heart disease is common among users and often results in irreversible damage. Addicts who don’t undergo a cocaine detox are more prone to developing these heart problems. While some of these conditions can be rectified, others have the potential to cause permanent damage, even death. 


Arrhythmia, also known as cardiac arrhythmia or dysrhythmia, refers to issues with the heart rate. This is a common symptom of cocaine use. The heart may beat too quickly or too slowly, which could affect a person’s breathing and consciousness. Because cocaine can deteriorate heart tissue, users are more prone to experiencing an arrhythmia. 

Acute Myocardial Infarction 

A heart attack is formally known as acute myocardial infarction. When blood flow is suddenly blocked from reaching the heart, it causes tissue damage, resulting in a life-threatening heart attack. 


Cardiomyopathy is a disease that directly affects the muscles in the heart, making it difficult to distribute blood throughout the rest of the body. This disease often results in heart failure and death. There are several types of this condition, each one affecting a different area of the heart. Many individuals who develop this condition require a heart transplant in order to lead a healthy life. 

Coronary Artery Spasm

Coronary artery spasm often occurs in people who smoke or have high blood pressure or cholesterol. Problems related to blood pressure and cholesterol are often symptoms of cocaine use. Coronary artery spasms occur when muscles in the artery walls tighten. While this may seem like a more minor heart condition, continuous spasms can lead to additional heart problems and death.


Atherosclerosis refers to fat, cholesterol, and plaque that piles up in the arteries, cutting off blood flow. When this occurs, blood vessels become stiff and clogged, preventing proper blood flow to and from the heart.2 Blood clots and heart attacks can result from this condition, especially if untreated. 

Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary artery disease refers to the narrowing or blockage of the arteries in the heart and is usually caused by atherosclerosis. Like many other heart diseases associated with cocaine addiction, coronary artery disease can cause chest pains and heart attacks. 

While this list may seem short, a host of other problems can branch out from both cocaine addiction and heart disease. At Banyan Treatment Centers Palm Springs, we understand the many dangers of cocaine abuse and encourage individuals with this drug problem to seek addiction treatment right away. 

If you or someone you know is battling a substance abuse disorder, do not wait to get help. Call Banyan Palm Springs today at 888-280-4763 for more information about our residential and PHP programs. 


  1. NCBI – Coronary artery spasm: An often overlooked diagnosis
  2. NIH – Atherosclerosis 
  3. NIH – Coronary Heart Disease
Related Reading: 
A Look at Cocaine in California 
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.