“We all know that the opioid epidemic is taking an unspeakable human toll through addiction, abuse and overdose, but our findings suggest that the toll may be even greater when we consider the cardiovascular effects opioids may have.”
~ Dr. Jonathan Stock, M.D., Yale New Haven Hospital
Preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2018 suggests that opioid use raises a person’s risk of atrial fibrillation by up to 34%. This is a serious cardiac condition causing the upper chambers of the heart to quiver chaotically. Atrial fibrillation is one of the top causes of strokes.
And while this heart rhythm disorder is quite common among seniors, otherwise-healthy opioid users are developing the condition at a much younger age. In the study, which involved over 850,000 patients, the average age was only 38.
The Evidence Mounts
“…the large increase in cardiovascular death risk is a novel finding. [And] it suggests being even more cautious with opioids for patients who are at high cardiovascular risk, such as those who have had a heart attack or have diabetes.”
~ Dr. Wayne Ray, PhD., Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Department of Health Policy
These findings dovetail with previous research concluding that patients with opioid painkiller prescriptions were 64% more likely to die prematurely than patients who were given non-opioid pain meds. Significantly, opioid patients were 65% more at-risk of dying from heart complications.
Nearly 23,000 patients, with an average age of 48 years, were involved in the Vanderbilt study.
What Does This Information Mean to YOU?
“Our results point to the importance of prescribing opioids only as a last resort. Opioid use, by itself, must be taken seriously and efforts should be made not only to reduce opioid abuse and overdoses but to ensure patients are being prescribed opioids only when absolutely necessary.”
~ Dr. Stock
This research highlights the hazards of opioid use and abuse. This means that if you are in pain, the best way to protect your heart and your health is to use other, non-opioid pain management techniques.
But if you want to stop using opioid painkillers and can’t, then maybe you need help for possible opioid dependence or addiction.
In Orange County, your most-trusted resource to help you recover from opioid addiction is Chapman House Treatment Centers. Since 1978, Chapman House has been one of the top drug rehabs in Southern California, offering comprehensive detox and treatment services that allow you to safely and successfully regain your sobriety.
To get the help you need right away, contact Chapman House TODAY.