Health Watch — Heart Smarts: Amphetamines and the Heart

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’ve been talking about being smart about your heart. Keeping your heart healthy means making smart decisions about what you eat, how you exercise and what you do with your body.

We know that abusing amphetamines is bad for you, but doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas have found that it could have a serious health impact. The researchers found that there’s a significant link between amphetamine abuse and heart attacks in young people. Heart attacks in young people are rare and can be debilitating and deadly. Dr. Robert Haley, UT Southwestern’s chief of epidemiology, says this should serve as a warning to those who abuse amphetamines, and emergency personnel who treat heart attacks in young people should look for signs of amphetamine abuse. Amphetamines may cause heart attacks by increasing heart rate and blood pressure and by causing artery spasms.

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October 2008

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