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Am J Public Health. 1997 Apr;87(4):629-34.

Lifetime cocaine use and cardiovascular characteristics among young adults: the CARDIA study.

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  • 1Division of Education and Research, Duluth Clinic, Minn 55805, USA.



Cocaine is a central nervous system stimulant associated with cardiovascular disease risk factors, morbidity, and mortality. Despite these demonstrated relationships, it has been difficult to assess the long-term cardiovascular consequences of cocaine use.


The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study provides an opportunity to evaluate the association of lifetime cocaine use with cardiovascular disease risk factors in a randomly sampled biethnic cohort of men and women of varied socioeconomic status, aged 20 to 32 in 1987.


More extensive cocaine use experience was associated with being White, older, and less educated, regardless of sex. Higher levels of licit and illicit substance use behavior were reported by those reporting more extensive cocaine experience; however, most cardiovascular disease risk factors such as systolic and diastolic blood pressure, heart rate, hypertension, physical activity, and anthropometric measurements were not related to lifetime cocaine experience.


In this age group, the detrimental cardiovascular effects of cocaine may be limited to acute effects. Further studies are needed to determine whether continued exposure is related to cardiovascular disease risk factors later in life.

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