Get Clean – Call us today!

Does Cocaine Thin Out Your Blood

When a loved one is using cocaine, chances are, they are not too worried about the ill effects it may be causing within their body. As a parent, sibling, friend, or family member, the weight of concern and worry are enough to keep you on edge for their well-being. Does cocaine cause heart attacks? Does cocaine thin out your blood?

At Clean Recovery Centers, we are industry-leading experts in cocaine use disorder. We understand cocaine’s prevalence here in the Sunshine State, where it claimed over 2,500 lives in 2021. We provide a safe space for healing and offer both substance use and co-occurring mental health treatment all in one place.

Let’s take a look further into how cocaine affects the blood and vital organs.

does cocaine thin out your blood clean recovery centers

Does Cocaine Cause Thinning of the Blood?

Cocaine is a stimulant that can cause the body to experience numerous short and long-term side effects. A common misconception is that cocaine is a blood thinner because it can cause strokes, heart attacks, and seizures. However, this is not true. Cocaine causes the blood to thicken by increasing the amount of red blood cells within the blood. This leads to higher concentrations of hemoglobin and hematocrit. These counts tend to return to normal ranges after cocaine begins to be metabolized, typically after around 30 minutes. However, long-term cocaine use and stress on the circulatory and vascular systems can cause dangerous problems.

how cocaine affects blood flowHow Cocaine Affects Blood Flow

Our bodies are made up of several systems that work together to function. Our blood vessels are responsible for carrying blood to vital organs as well as bringing it back to the heart for oxygenation. When cocaine is taken, it causes our blood vessels to narrow, called vasoconstriction. This makes it more difficult for blood to be transported throughout the body. The extremities may become white or blue due to reduced blood flow. The heart will also have to work harder to ensure blood reaches all areas of the body. Vasoconstriction from cocaine use typically only lasts as long as the effects, around 30-40 minutes. However, vasoconstriction can cause serious complications no matter the frequency of cocaine use.

Cocaine-Induced Effects on the Heart

In the long term, cocaine can cause the heart to lose its shape. The left ventricle has been seen to have much more mass in those who chronically use cocaine. This increases the risks of heart-related conditions to occur, including irregular heartbeat, angina, and plaque build-up within the arteries.

As we talked about above, vasoconstriction makes it more difficult for the heart to pump blood. Let’s look at how this affects blood pressure specifically.

High Blood Pressure

Blood pressure measures the force in which blood is pushing against the arteries while your heart pumps blood. A normal blood pressure reading is around 120/80. However, different factors can affect blood pressure and cause it to rise. Leading an unhealthy lifestyle including poor diet and lack of exercise can increase blood pressure. Age and genetics can also cause high blood pressure, known as hypertension. These factors can be exacerbated by cocaine use.

Cocaine itself causes high blood pressure during use because it narrows arteries. The blood flowing through the body has to be pushed through with higher force, creating a rise in blood pressure. Cocaine causes high blood pressure and hypertension during use, but over time can lead to constant blood pressure problems. Untreated hypertension can lead to headaches, difficulty breathing, seizures, heart attacks, and strokes.

Possible Health Concerns on Blood from Cocaine

The concern with cocaine is that it can cause numerous effects on the brain, heart, and body whether it is your first use or your 100th. It also does not matter your age, health, or genetics, a cardiovascular event can happen to anyone. Those who have genetic or environmental factors indicating poor heart health are at an increased risk of events if they take cocaine.


An aneurysm occurs when swelling or bulging abnormally forms on arteries. This can happen anywhere within the body, but the most common types of aneurysms related to cocaine use are cerebral (within the brain) and thoracic aortic (in the heart).

Cerebral aneurysms can lay dormant in the brain and may never rupture. However, a ruptured cerebral aneurysm is a medical emergency as it will cause bleeding into the brain. Symptoms include severe headache, impaired speech, paralysis, and vision problems. Hypertension is a leading cause of cerebral aneurysms, especially in those taking cocaine.

Thoracic aortic aneurysms form in the aorta, which is responsible for carrying oxygenated blood from the left ventricle to the rest of the body. In some cases, thoracic aortic aneurysms go unnoticed as they don’t produce many symptoms. Cocaine is known to cause the arteries to harden – known as atherosclerosis – and leads to the development of thoracic aortic aneurysms. Similar to other types, when a thoracic aortic aneurysm ruptures, it can be life-threatening. One study showed cocaine use and a link to acute aortic dissection, which is when a tear forms in the aorta. This tear can be a result of a thoracic aortic aneurysm rupture. The study concluded that 88% of participants presented with acute aorta dissection with 75% reporting cocaine use for more than a year. However, the mortality rate showed the prognosis is grim, with 33% of participants dying either at the hospital or not making it at all.

Heart Attack

Cocaine is a known substance that induces acute myocardial infarctions, the medical term for a heart attack. This happens because cocaine causes blood pressure and heart rate to rise, leading to a spasm within a coronary artery (branches of the aorta). This spasm leads to a partial or complete blockage, which can trigger a heart attack at any given moment. This blockage can be the result of a blood clot or from plaque build-up, both of which are common with cocaine use.


There are two different types of strokes: ischemic and hemorrhagic. Ischemic strokes are the most common as they result in a blockage within the brain, typically from blood clots. Cocaine is known to cause blood clots as we have mentioned, which is why ischemic strokes are common. Hemorrhagic strokes can also occur from cocaine use as they result in leaking or bursting of blood vessels in the brain. Both types of strokes are a medical emergency and should be treated immediately. Damage to the brain from a stroke can be irreversible.

Brain Hemorrhage

When cerebral aneurysms or hemorrhagic strokes are left untreated, they can result in a brain hemorrhage. This is when bleeding within the brain or between the brain and skull becomes severe. It is a life-threatening condition and can result in permanent damage or death in a matter of days. More than 50% of people who have experienced a hemorrhagic stroke do not survive the first year.

Get Help for Cocaine Use Disorder in Tampa, FL

Cocaine use can wreak havoc within the body and lead to long-term damage to the heart and brain. There is hope and help available today that can prevent further pain and lead you to the path of healing. Cocaine addiction treatment will open the doors to understanding where cocaine use stems from and allow you to develop coping skills for a successful and fulfilling recovery.

If you or someone you love is living with a cocaine use disorder, don’t wait to begin healing today. Clean Recovery Centers has a full team of professionals ready to welcome you into our program. We offer housing certified by the Florida Association for Recovery Residences (FARR) at each of our locations. Call us today at (888) 330-2532 to learn more about our program offerings.

Get clean. Live clean. Stay clean.


Can cocaine interact with prescribed blood thinners?

Yes, cocaine can interfere with prescribed blood thinners. Cocaine causes the blood to thicken, increasing the risk of blood clots. Taking blood thinners works to prevent blood clots, and mixing the two will cause adverse reactions.

Can cocaine cause damage directly to the heart?

Cocaine can directly damage the heart by changing its shape, changing its rhythm, or causing a clot that damages the internal workings of the heart.

Recent Posts

Meth Face

Will the face you fell in love with still exist in another five years? When your loved one is living with a meth use disorder, this isn’t just a question – it can be a very real fear. Research finds that nearly one in four people who take methamphetamine regularly...

Cocaine and Nausea

“Cocaine for me was a place to hide. Most people get hyper on coke. It slowed me down. Sometimes it made me paranoid and impotent, but mostly it just made me withdrawn.” – Robin Williams Cocaine use doesn’t begin for no reason. Mental health, life stresses, and the...

Cocaine and Seizures

You hear about the negative side effects of illicit substances all the time. “Cocaine causes seizures,” “Cocaine causes blood clots,” and so on. But you have never experienced these effects, you must be immune to them, right? Truth be told, there is no guarantee that...

Cocaine Tools

Would you question seeing a smear of white film on the back of a CD you let your son borrow? What about seeing your daughter wearing a miniature spoon-shaped necklace you have never seen before – do you ask about it? Knowing about cocaine tools can help parents and...

Signs of Meth Addiction

In 2021, 2.5 million people reported taking meth in the last 12 months in the United States. It’s easy to think this number doesn’t affect you, or that meth has no way to enter your life. Until your son starts acting differently, always paranoid that people are...