Learn about how opioid use disorder affects the heart and cardiovascular health
Many harmful effects of opioids have become evident through the everlasting opioid crisis. However, the public and medical fields have limited awareness of certain risks. Some of these factors include the way opioids can impact cardiovascular health in patients or people who take opioid medication long-term for chronic pain.
Thankfully, with proper screening and prevention steps, those with opioid use disorder can still benefit from medication-assisted treatment if they’ve experienced heart health concerns.
Conditions that affect the heart most associated with opioid use include:
Regular opioid use is likely to exacerbate symptoms for individuals with pre-existing, especially undetected, heart issues. Those with low blood pressure will notice that the effects of opioids exacerbate this condition, sometimes causing dizziness, fainting and lethargy.
With intravenous use of illicit opioids, the risk of infectious endocarditis is dramatically high. If not treated correctly, individuals with heart problems who contract the virus are likely to experience permanent organ damage.
MAT drugs are life-saving for those with opioid use disorder, but they are still classified as opioids. Those with heart problems seeking treatment for OUD are often concerned that these medications could potentially worsen their conditions. Fortunately, drugs like Suboxone do not list heart problems among their side effects.
Specialized medical professionals monitor patients taking MAT drugs and conduct routine check-ups to screen for any changes in heart function. Along with improved overall health through treatment and less exposure to intravenous illicit opioid use, patients are unlikely to experience any new heart-related diagnosis.
Those who have experienced heart-related issues and infections can still enroll in MAT. Heart conditions can be treated alongside opioid use disorder. The use of a controlled opioid maintenance medication will always be safer than the alternative, which is no treatment at all.
Everyone should work towards improving their heart health, especially those with a history of substance misuse. Apart from medical intervention, individuals can take small daily steps to decrease the risk of future heart disease.
Some factors can increase the risk of heart disease that people can’t change, however. Being aware of these issues can help improve prevention measures.
The medical providers at Middlesex Recovery’s outpatient, office-based facilities are compassionate professionals who treat every patient as a whole. With medication-assisted treatment, each patient receives care for substance use disorder but will also receive regular health screenings to ensure the heart and rest of the body are functioning properly. Middlesex Recovery dedicates itself to providing all patients with the highest quality of care, supported by substance use counselors. Give us a call today to learn more about our treatment programs.