According to the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner, Carrie Fisher died of sleep apnea, atherosclerotic heart disease, and drug use. It turns out that the 5 substances found in her body may have created a “perfect storm” that led to her early death.
Multiple Drugs, Multiple Kinds of Heart Damage
The autopsy showed that Fisher had five substances in her system, each of which damages the heart and increases the risk of an adverse cardiac event.
- Alcohol – Older women who take just one drink per day have reduced heart function.
- Cocaine – Even “casual” cocaine use is associated with decreased coronary blood flow, greater left ventricular mass, accelerated heart rate, higher systolic blood pressure, and increased aortic stiffness.
- Heroin and Methadone (opioids) – Patients who use opioids have a 65% greater chance of dying from a new-onset heart condition. Also increases the risk of arterial fibrillation, which results in a 63% greater likelihood of a heart attack. This risk of heart attack is even higher among women.
- Ecstasy – 15% of ecstasy users develop vascular heart disease (VHD), where blood leaks Back into the heart, enlarging it, and impairing its ability to pump blood.
Sleep Apnea and Respiratory Depression
- The incidence of sleep apnea among the general population is 5% or less, but among people who take opioids, the incidence is estimated to be 75%.
- Combining alcohol and opioids further interferes with breathing. Taking just one opioid dose while drinking “moderately” can depress respiration by 47%.
Habitual substance abuse can take a tremendous toll on your body. If you are worried about your health but are unable to quit using drugs or alcohol, maybe you need professional help.
If your substance use is affecting your sleep, or your health, take action to increase the quality of your life before it’s too late.
Lasting Recovery is one of the most-trusted outpatient drug and alcohol rehab programs in Southern California. Call today to get the help and support you need.
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