What are the Effects of Cocaine & Alcohol in Coronary Artery Spasms (CAS)?

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Coronary artery spasm is a pain (discomfort) in the chest. It is caused by the constriction of coronary arteries, which supply oxygen and nutrients to the heart. The constriction occurs due to the tightening of the smooth muscles in the arteries of the heart. CAS can be mild, moderate, or severe. In some cases, it can block the coronary arteries. Then blood flow will be low or completely stopped due to the narrowed arteries. So that oxygen and nutrients are not supplied to the heart properly. It may lead to a heart attack and then to sudden death. This risk is increased with substance abuse like cocaine and alcohol.

Sometimes, CAS may not cause any significant signs or symptoms in some patients. However, these types of patients may complain that their chest is paining slightly. If it is not treated quickly, it can lead to a heart attack. Most patients complain about signs and symptoms of CAS. Common symptoms include chest pain, pain on the left side of the chest during rest, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and squeezing of the chest, etc. Chest tightness and squeezing of the chest starts from the center of the chest and then spreads to the shoulders, arm, back, neck, or jawbone.

Effects of Cocaine & Alcoho

Hypertension, high cholesterol, atherosclerosis are common causes of CAS. Hypertension and high cholesterol increase the risk of arterial constriction. Smoking, alcohol consumption, illegal drug consumption (for example, cocaine abuse), obesity, extreme stress are some risk factors that can lead to CAS. If any family member has a history of CAS, that also can increase the risk of future spasms. Drug and alcohol rehabs centers are aware of these potential risk factors, so they are more prepared to deal with high-risk patients of substance abuse.

For treating this disease, diagnostic imaging tests are taken that include ECG, echocardiogram, and coronary angiography. The main aim of the treatment for this disease is to relieve chest pain. The following medications can be prescribed to relieve chest pain:

  • Nitrates help to dilate arteries so that the blood flows through the arteries well.
  • L-Arginine prevents constrictions of the arteries.
  • Calcium channel blockers help in easing the chest tightness and squeeze of the chest by relaxing the arterial muscles.

As CAS can lead to heart attacks, medications, which reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, are used to prevent heart attacks.

  • Statin medications reduce cholesterol to prevent CAS.
  • Anti-hypertensive drugs are used to reduce blood pressure.
  • Patients should eat a low-fat, lower sodium diet. If the patient smokes, smoking should be stopped.

If CAS is not treated, complications may develop in patients such as heart arrhythmias, heart attacks, cardiac arrest, and sudden death. CAS is a chronic disease. If left untreated, serious complications can occur in patients. Preventing atherosclerosis, reducing high-cholesterol consumption, and preventing hypertension can reduce the chances of developing CAS. Diet plays an important role in preventing this disease. A low-fat, low-salt diet should be taken. Regular exercise is also very important to reduce the chances of getting cardiovascular diseases.

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