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Methamphetamine use linked to increased incidents of stroke

Methamphetamine use linked to increased incidents of stroke

Methamphetamine, a stimulant that exists in numerous forms like powder, pill, etc., is often smoked, inhaled, injected or swallowed. Also commonly known as chalk, crank, crystal, ice, meth and speed, the ingredients of this drug also involves the concoction of hazardous and readily obtained chemicals like acetone, anhydrous ammonia, ether, red phosphorus and lithium.

Fundamentally, the effects of methamphetamine are quite similar to those of amphetamine. Studies suggest that methamphetamine wreaks havoc on the users by increasing the amount of natural chemical dopamine, which plays a vital role in the regulation of reward.

Being a powerful stimulant, methamphetamine has the potential to enhance alertness and diminish craving even with a meager dose. Due to the elevated release of dopamine in the brain, the user will likely experience motivation, pleasure and enhanced motor function.

As a result, the abnormal release of neurotransmitters over a period of time can lead to a range of debilitating problems, such as cardiovascular problems (including rapid heart rate, irregular heartbeat, etc.), increased blood pressure, hyperthermia and convulsions along with an overdose.

Besides the above-mentioned consequences, neuroimaging studies have demonstrated an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke, especially among young adults. The chronic meth users can experience a stroke within few hours or days of use, as well as an outcome of long-term abuse.  Some of the warning signs of a stroke include headache, confusion, problems related to speech and vision, numbness, etc.

Young adults and men more prone to stroke due to meth use

A new study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry provides evidence on the above finding that methamphetamine use is associated with an increased risk of stroke among the young. A kind of stroke caused due to bleeding in the brain (hemorrhagic) than a clot (ischemic) is quite common with this drug. Compared to women, men are twice as likely to succumb to the repercussions of methamphetamine abuse.

The study authors based their research on a wide level to analyze the potential association between methamphetamine use and the risk of stroke in young people under the age of 45. They found nearly 77 pertinent pieces of research out of 370. It also included epidemiological studies and case report series.

About 81 hemorrhagic and 17 ischemic strokes were found and both the types were around twice as common in men than in women. In the case reports, about eight out of 10 strokes among young people were linked with the use of methamphetamine were hemorrhagic. As per the researchers, the above statistics is comparatively much higher in people under the age of 45 (40-50 percent) or in older people (15-20 percent) than the reported rates.

Methamphetamine carries a high risk of developing health issues when swallowed, inhaled or even injected. However, the chances of experiencing hemorrhagic stroke are markedly high due to swallowing and/or injecting. Similarly, inhalation is the most common way to an ischemic stroke. Additionally, hemorrhagic stroke is linked with vascular abnormalities like high blood pressure and vasculitis (inflamed blood vessels). Moreover, chronic use can lead to high blood pressure even in those whose blood pressure is normal.

Apart from this, the risk of death after a hemorrhagic stroke is quite high. Researchers further highlighted that with the increased use of methamphetamine, especially in more potent forms, a growing risk of methamphetamine-related diseases and harms are evident among young people.

Treatment is a call away

The repeated use of methamphetamine can cause serious and debilitating side effects like arrhythmias, heart palpitations, heart attack, stroke, seizures, increased risk of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) due to risky sexual practices, sexual dysfunction and so forth. Therefore, it is essential to undergo an effective recovery program to expunge the stored toxins.

If you or your loved one is suffering from any addiction, contact the Colorado Detox Helpline to access an effective treatment. Call our 24/7 helpline number 866-730-5807 to more about the detox centers in Colorado. You can call for assistance or chat online with our experts for further information.

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