Casual cocaine users may be risking heart damage

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Casual cocaine users may be risking heart damage

“Even ‘social’ cocaine users are doing catastrophic damage to their hearts,” the Mail Online reports after an Australian study found that casual cocaine use was associated with heart damage.

Most previous research into the effects of the illegal stimulant has involved people recruited through drug treatment centres.

As the researchers point out, these people may not be representative of the majority of cocaine users – “dinner party drug users”, who may regularly use the drug once or twice a week.

The researchers recruited 20 people who described themselves as regular cocaine users, and used imaging techniques to compare their heart and vascular function with 20 controls (people who didn’t use cocaine).

They found that cocaine users had poorer heart and vascular function measures, including increased aortic stiffness and systolic blood pressure, and greater left ventricular mass.

These are well-known risk factors for early cardiovascular events such as a heart attack.

The study was small and cannot prove a direct cause and effect relationship between cocaine use and heart damage.

But it does add to the growing body of evidence that even semi-regular drug use can be dangerous.

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