Cocaine: that white powder is bad for the heart

Deaths due to heart attack are declining. But not among young people, who are consuming growing amounts of cocaine. The white powder is the most vasoconstrictive of all drugs, and some scientists say it can permanently change the anatomy of the brain.

Young people have strong hearts, but not strong enough to resist the impact of cocaine. This is borne out by statistics: according to a recent report by the Italian Society for Cardiovascular Health, mortality from heart attacks is decreasing, except among young people, who are taking increasing amounts of cocaine. The drug enhances mood and libido, but has a direct effect on the heart.

Cocaine: a powerful vasoconstrictor

Cocaine is a very powerful vasoconstrictor, and chronic use significantly increases a large number of risks, including hypertension and myocardial infarction caused by vasoconstriction, serious arrhythmias such as ventricular fibrillation, and immune deficits. The cocktail of effects also includes irritability, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and frequent paranoia. Cocaine has the most vasoconstrictive effect of any drug. Young people who sniff the white powder are more likely to have heart attacks due to spasms of the coronary arteries, and often also suffer from necrosis of the nostrils, again due to vasoconstriction.

Lifestyle also affects mortality from heart attacks

Just to make things worse, apart from taking cocaine, a drug derived from the coca plant, originating in South America and used for centuries by the indigenous Quechua people of the Andes to relieve hunger and the effects of altitude, young people are also prone to other unhealthy lifestyle traits such as poor diet, lack of exercise, and smoking.

Cocaine changes the anatomy of the brain

Cocaine damages not only the cardiovascular system, but also the brain. A study by Cambridge University's Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute shows that the active ingredient of cocaine permanently changes the anatomy of the frontal lobe, which over time reduces the attention threshold and causes increasingly compulsive and uncontrollable consumption of the drug.

The scientists carried out MRI scans of the brains of 60 cocaine addicts, and found that their frontal lobes had significantly below-average levels of grey matter. This anomalous result affected their ability to make decisions and achieve goals, their attention spans and their emotional processes. But that's not all: a cocaine user is likely to have an abnormal insula and cordate nucleus, a deep region of the brain, affecting their pleasure and motor coordination mechanisms.

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