As I am writing this article I am waiting to hear from relatives concerning a loved one who is presently undergoing open heart surgery. The strange thing is that she is only 46 years old and has no family history of heart disease. What caused her heart to break (as my young niece described it)? We all know that sometimes unexplainable things happen. People get many kinds of sicknesses and diseases with no known cause. But in this case, I wondered if lifestyle could have been a contributing factor concerning this disease.
Well, the reality is that this person used crack cocaine for a number of years, is a heavy smoker and after putting down crack cocaine picked up a habit of alcohol abuse. I believe that the reality is her heart “broke” because of years of her abusing her own body.
Is this just my thought or is there evidence to this fact? Well the Center for Substance Abuse Research reports that heart attack and heart disease can be one of the long term effects of crack cocaine use. And although recently alcohol has been reported to aid in reducing heart attack/heart disease when consumed moderately (although I believe there are more healthy ways to help your heart), abuse of alcohol on the other hand can lead to problems such as high blood pressure, and an enlarged or weakened heart. This happens because excessive alcohol is toxic to the body and thus the heart.
What about her cigarette smoking as she has been smoking since her teen years. Over the years, I’ve seen other relatives suffer respiratory problems and even lung cancer as a result of cigarette smoking, but I wondered if smoking could have also contributed to heart disease? To my surprise Philip Morris USA states in their literature that medical and scientific research conclude that cigarette smoking can cause heart disease in addition to the more obvious problems such as lung cancer and emphysema.
I am not writing this article to just throw around a bunch of medical data. Most of us have heard the statistics and reports, and in most situations the information is taken lightly or even ignored. For years many of us tried to help my loved one and there were many interventions. Stubbornly she did not believe that anything “bad” could happen to her. She seemed to see herself as invincible as do many who have a drug and/or alcohol problem. This article is also not written to criticize or to judge others. It is written as an article of love and concern. This also applies to any abuse of the body including overeating and/or lack of exercise. We must all take responsibility for the care of our own bodies, and realize that what we do, or do not do, can and probably will have a long term effect upon our overall health and well being.
Well, praise God she is out of surgery and they were able to repair the leaking valve. The doctor reports that the operation was a success and he believes that she will recover well. Prior to the surgery she vowed that through the help of the Lord she would give up smoking and drinking entirely. The family vows to rally around her and support her with our prayers and encouragement.