Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Meth use linked to heart problems--this is news?

If an active methamphetamine addict cared what the drug was doing to his body, a recent study at the Scripps Research Institute might get his attention.

As if anyone whose life is touched by this insidious substance doesn't know, it can cause the heart to race. Heart attacks. Instant death. And usually at an early age.

But now, these researchers have identified medical complications resulting from prolonged use that had never been recognized before. These include numerous cardiovascular problems such as arrhythmias, intracranial bleeding and congestive heart failure.

The study also noted that methamphetamine reacts with proteins in the body, creating compounds that have been associated with Alzheimer's disease and diabetes.

It's not a pretty picture. Too bad the addict usually doesn't get it until the damage is done. As a society, we haven't begun to see the effects of this crisis, but the next 20 years will be telling.

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