In August 2016, The American Journal of Cardiology published a study headed by Dr. Sasikanth Adigopula that looked at the correlation between methamphetamine usage and a weakened heart muscle known as cardiomyopathy. A previous study had been performed in Hawaii that showed a 40% incidence of meth usage by cardiomyopathy patients, but Dr. Adigopula did not feel that this study necessarily applied to the entire United States because of ethnic differences. Therefore, the doctor set out to determine what similarities could be found in the continental United States.
Dangers of Heart Conditions
His study took place at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in California where he began working in July 2015. Dr. Adigopula became director of the heart failure program at the facility while also being an assistant professor at the prestigious Loma Linda University Medical School. Since then, he has gone back in the records to look at nearly 600 patients who were seen at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center for cardiomyopathy between 2008 and 2012. The patients ranged in age from 18 to 50 years old. Of the 590 patients studied, 37.8% of them admitted to using methamphetamines. In additions, their diagnoses were not affected by adjunct problems, such as coronary artery disease or heart valve issues.
The conclusion of the study was that individuals who use methamphetamines have an increased risk of having cardiomyopathy and often have more severe forms of cardiomyopathy than abstainers have. In the future, Dr. Adigopula maintains that the possibility of reversing the effects of meth as well as the window and incidence of reversibility should be studied to give physicians a stronger hand in fighting this problem.
Other physicians note that they have seen similar results in their experiences working with patients diagnosed with cardiomyopathy. Numerous patients admit to using meth, showing that cardiomyopathy and meth usage are often related. In fact, even meth users in their teens or 20s have been noted to experience terrible heart attacks.
Dr. Matney and his team at First Step Recovery Center can help meth users take the first steps in giving up this dangerous drug and in making lifelong changes.