Health Watch - Vices: Drugs

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’re talking vices. Sometimes, the things that it’s wrong – or even illegal – to do are also bad for your health. Abusing drugs can get you in trouble with the law, but it can also cause serious trouble for your body.

Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found that young adults who use amphetamines have a higher risk for heart attacks. Heart attacks are normally rare in young people, and they can be debilitating or even deadly. Dr. Arthur Westover, a UT Southwestern psychiatrist, says the number of amphetamine-related heart attacks may be increasing, and emergency room doctors need to be aware of the possible link to amphetamine use in young patients with heart attack symptoms. A common heart attack treatment could make matters worse if it interacts with methamphetamines. Amphetamines increase heart attack risk by increasing heart rate and blood pressure while also causing inflammation and spasms in arteries that supply blood to the heart.

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April 2011


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