Methamphetamine is such a strong stimulant that it places damaging stresses on every part of the body. Some organs may suffer damage that will never be able to be repaired. The mind also suffers intense stress and damage from the drug itself and the toxins it contains. Aside from the likelihood of addiction, methamphetamine abuse can be a nightmare that a person will never wake up from as the harmful physical effects of the drug will be present for the rest of his life.
Heart and blood vessels: The heart may absorb the greatest stress caused by using methamphetamine. This strong stimulant speeds up the heart while it constricts blood vessels. The heart is trying to pump blood rapidly through the body but the constriction of arteries and veins produces a intolerable pressure on the heart and blood vessels throughout the body. This incredible stress can result in heart attacks, strokes and destruction of arteries. The aorta, the major artery leaving the heart, can disintegrate from the stress, leading to fatal bleeding into the pericardium, the sac enclosing the heart.
Information from the University of California Irvine indicates that meth is toxic to the large blood vessels, resulting in carotid tears and strokes. Fatal aneurysms - ruptures in arteries - have caused sudden death in meth users.
Increased body temperature and persistent muscle twitching that can result with high doses of meth may trigger a chain reaction of muscle tissue breakdown that floods the body with toxins. These toxins overload the kidneys which, if they fail, can cause death if dialysis is not instantly provided.
The constriction of the blood vessels can cut off circulation to the extremities and the skin. Meth can also increase the likelihood of developing blood clots. These two effects together can result in gangrene and amputations.
Kidneys: There is another way that meth abuse kills the kidneys and that is through hyperthermia, abnormally increased body temperature. The use of any stimulant drug tends to increase one's body temperature - not just methamphetamine but also cocaine, Ecstasy and the group of drugs referred to as "bath salts."
If more meth is abused than the body can handle, the overheating can cause the kidneys to shut down. The damage can be irreparable, resulting in death. If death is prevented, a person may need constant dialysis until a transplant can be obtained.
A drug user who destroys a liver or kidneys and then needs a transplant is likely to be removed from a transplant waiting list if further drug use is detected.
Lungs: There is a tendency for methamphetamine users to accumulate fluid in their lungs because of the constriction of the blood vessels. Meth use also causes high blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries. Those suffering from this problem can experience shortness of breath, chest pain, tiredness and fainting. If not treated early, it becomes incurable with a poor survival rate.
Continue reading to learn about the damage methamphetamine can wreak on the brain and a person's mind and sanity.