Early Detection Can Help Repair Heart Damage Caused by Methamphetamine Use

A new study featured in the The Journal of the American College of Cardiology may provide hope to those who suffered heart damage caused by excessive methamphetamine use. According to researchers, the cessation of methamphetamine, combined with appropriate medical treatment, can reverse damage to the heart.

The new study, published in JACC: Heart Failure shows positive results in those that have documented heart problems caused by methamphetamine use after they quit using the drug and undergo medical examinations and treatment.

Researchers were able to determine this phenomenon by observing thirty patients who were diagnosed with heart problems due to their use of methamphetamines. All the patients were suffering from left ventricular ejection fraction problems; usually less than 40%, this is considered a state of heart failure. Symptoms of this problem include labored breathing and blood flow problems, and some also had blood clots throughout their body. However, after they stopped using methamphetamine, all symptoms stopped and the heart showed improved function, reversing the cardiac failure.

Methamphetamine is particularly destructive to the heart because of the stress it places on the vital muscle. Addicts experience an intense high and the drug speeds up function in the body, which usually over-taxes the heart.

“Methamphetamine associated cardiac myopathy will become a growing cause of heart failure in young adults. Due to the chance to recover cardiac function and symptoms at an early stage of the disease, early detection of heart problems in patients with methamphetamine abuse could prevent further deterioration of the cardiomyopathy,” explained Norman Mangner, lead author of the study.

This information can be helpful not only for those that have already developed heart problems, but also for those that are still struggling with their addictions. Oftentimes the future looks bleak for addicts that have developed diseases due to their drug use because they may be irreversible or at least very difficult to treat. However, with this new discovery, addicts are given hope.