As more and more states seek to legalize marijuana and more studies support the use of the drug to treat everything from seizures to glaucoma to cancer, a new study from Georgia State University suggests that pot may have consequences for your cardiovascular system. This comes as not so great news for those who suffer from coronary artery disease or hypertension. Hypertension affects more than 85 million Americans, and using marijuana in conjunction with high blood pressure can increase your risk of dying from hypertension by four percent for every year you use. If you're searching for a drug and alcohol treatment center in Wilmington NC for marijuana addiction, call Legacy Freedom for help.
Hypertension or high blood pressure occurs when the force exerted on the blood vessel walls by the blood exceeds 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mmHg). The top number, or the systolic number, relates the amount of pressure the heart uses to pump the blood throughout the body. The diastolic, or the bottom number, is the amount of pressure inside the heart as the muscle relaxes and begins to refill with blood.
Numerous risk factors increase your chance of developing hypertension:
- Ethnicity - some ethnic groups are more inclined to develop hypertension than others.
- Age - As we age, our arteries become narrowed due to plaque build up. These arteries also become less pliable and can cause your blood pressure to increase. Most commonly, hypertension is seen in those over age 60.
- Gender - Men are more likely to develop high blood pressure at a younger age. However, women tend to develop hypertension later in life with higher pressure readings.
- Weight - Overweight or obese people are much more likely to have difficulties with their blood pressure.
- Diet - People who have a diet low in potassium but high in processed fatty foods, salt, and alcohol are more likely to have problems with their blood pressure.
- Health Conditions - Certain diseases cause people to be prone to hypertension. These include cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, and chronic kidney disease.
- Medications - Some medications increase your risk of developing high blood pressure.
- Smoking - Smokers have a higher rate of blood pressure issues than nonsmokers.
- Activity Level - Those who lead largely sedentary lifestyles are more likely to develop problems with their blood pressure.
- Family History - Genetics play a large role in whether or not you will develop hypertension in your lifetime.
Untreated hypertension can result in grave consequences. The formation of plaque in the blood vessels can increase with a condition known as atherosclerosis. This narrowing of the vessels forces the heart to work harder to move blood throughout the body. As a result, those with untreated high blood pressure can experience:
- Kidney failure
- Blindness from hypertensive retinopathies
- Heart attack
- Heart Failure
- Limb Amputation
Diagnosing high blood pressure is done through a series of simple tests. Electrocardio grams, echocardiograms (ultrasound of the heart), kidney ultrasounds, blood and urine tests are needed to diagnose hypertension and discover the severity of the disease. The dietary changes that are necessary to help the medications prescribed for treating hypertension can be difficult to adhere to when you smoke marijuana. If you have a problem with marijuana, call Legacy Freedom. We're the best drug and alcohol treatment center in Wilmington NC for addiction.
Typically, marijuana slows your body down and makes you crave high-fat foods. For those with high blood pressure, regular exercise and a low-fat diet are critical for long life expectancy. Carefully monitoring portion size, avoiding animal fats, trans-fats and vegetable oils are crucial for maintaining a blood pressure friendly diet. Regular, vigorous activity is an important part of maintaining a healthy weight and lowering blood pressure in addition to medication.
Complications between the drugs used to treat blood pressure like vasodilators, ACE inhibitors, and central agonists don't mix well with marijuana. The reason is this, the drugs that treat high blood pressure help relax the blood vessels and allow the blood to move with less resistance throughout the body. Marijuana acts in much the same way. When the two combine, there is a greater likelihood that your blood pressure could drop too low. If you are standing when this happens, you may feel dizzy or lightheaded. If you are lying down and change position quickly, you could feel like you are going to pass out. While blood pressure that is too high is dangerous, it is also dangerous if your pressure drops too low.
The 1,200 participants in the Georgia State University study were studied for 20 years. Their marijuana usage habits and other factors like previous heart conditions and body mass index (BMI) were considered. Those who used marijuana were three times more likely to die of a hypertension related illness than those who did not use. Researchers concluded that the cardiovascular effects of marijuana smoking might be greater than the already known risks that cigarettes pose to cardiovascular health.
Not only does marijuana relax the blood vessels which can cause blood pressure to drop too low in those who take medication for high blood pressure, but it can also elevate blood pressure for those who have blood pressure that is on the higher end of the normal limits or those who have untreated hypertension. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is the active component in marijuana works in conjunction with the endocannabinoid system. In your body, the endocannabinoid system regulates your heart function. When THC is introduced to this system, it causes an increase in blood pressure and heart rate. When a pot addiction has taken over your life, call our drug and alcohol treatment center in Wilmington NC. We can help you.
With regular exposure to THC, the endocannabinoid system requires your heart to pump more forcefully to move the blood vessels, and this can damage the vessels, making plaque buildup more likely. As a result, the risk of sudden cardiac death or other cardiovascular and hypertensive complications increases dramatically.
Marijuana use is increasing in popularity for treating many other medical conditions, but for those who are at risk for high blood pressure or who have high blood pressure, mixing marijuana into the equation could have dangerous health consequences. If you, or someone you love, are addicted to marijuana and are experiencing complications from high blood pressure, it's not too late.
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At Legacy Freedom of Wilmington, we take a holistic approach to substance abuse treatment. We are not a twelve-step alcohol and drug treatment center. We work with you to get to the root of your addiction and help you learn to cope with your underlying issues in healthy and sober ways. Utilizing traditional talk therapy and alternative therapies our care team will create a program tailored to meet your needs and goals. We offer more than ten different alternative therapies including tai chi, acupuncture, and adventure therapy.
Stop letting an addiction to marijuana put your health in jeopardy, call or click to connect with the top drug and alcohol treatment center in Wilmington NC!