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It often goes unnoticed. Your heartbeat has always been there, and as far as you’re concerned it will always be there. Many people take it for granted, thinking their body can handle anything they throw at it. The heart is responsible for your entire circulatory system. When it is weakened by misuse of drugs and alcohol, it cannot function properly and may lead to severe heart problems and death. February is American Heart Month. Take a moment to learn about how your choices affect your heart, and what you can do to get back on a healthy path.

Drugs and Your Heart

Your heart is affected differently depending on what you’re taking. There are many different classifications of drug types ranging from stimulants to opiates. Each type has a different effect on your heart, and when any one of them is abused, you are putting yourself at risk. Here are a few common drug types and what they can do to your heart:

  • Benzodiazepines (Sedatives): Slows down the heart rate to a sometimes fatal degree if taken in excess
  • Hallucinogens: Raises heart rate and can increase the risk of heart attack
  • Stimulants: Have an immediate effect on the heart, linked to heart attack, stroke, artery wall damage, and sudden cardiac death
  • Opiates: Put unnecessary stress on the body; when taken recreationally there is a greater risk of overdose and heart attack

Any chemical dependence should be taken seriously. Whether it’s something you do every day, or only on certain occasions, take into account the pressure you are putting on your heart. You know how important it is, start taking care of it the right way.

Alcohol and Your Heart

You don’t need to be an alcoholic to know the dangers of alcohol abuse. Most have experienced a hangover or two that demonstrate how unhealthy drinking too much can actually be. Where your heart is concerned, excessive alcohol consumption can raise cholesterol and force your heart to work much harder than it normally would. It can also cause high blood pressure and can be fatal over time. While alcohol addiction is no easy thing to fix, it is still crucial to learn what is actually happening to your body. The more information you have, the more clarity you will have about the situation.

Making the decision to improve your health is always a good one. During American Health Month there is an abundance of advice and materials you can use to turn your life around.

Deciding to get help is the first step on the road to recovery. Always remember that you do not have to do it alone.