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Cardiovascular Collapse, Cardiac Arrest and Respiratory Distress: A Result of Drug Abuse by Michael Jackson and Others

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We have been hearing a lot about pain killers, sleeping pills and other medications that have been abused by celebrities and regular Americans. Besides knowing that these drugs cause tolerance and/or dependence leading to abuse, they may cause cardiovascular collapse, cardiac arrest and respiratory distress. What does that mean and how does this happen? Can you prevent this if you are taking these medications?

Basic definitions:

1. Cardiac arrest – sudden end of heart function

2. Cardiovascular collapse – a sudden loss of effective blood flow due to heart or vessel factors
3. Respiratory depression – slow and shallow breathing decreasing oxygen in the body

Example of abuse-potential medications and their adverse effects:

1. Pain Killers – Drugs such as Demerol are used to treat moderate to severe pain. Side effects: respiratory depression, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, constipation, hypotension, etc.

2. Sleeping Pills – Drugs such as Restoril, Ambien. Side effects: respiratory depression, dizziness, nausea, etc.

3. Anti-anxiety medications – Drugs such as Xanax, Valium. Side effects: respiratory depression, dizziness, hypotension, etc.

All have similar adverse/side effects. If taken in HIGH DOSES or COMBINED, they can slow both the heart and respiration, causing death.

Tell/ask your doctor/dentist/pharmacist about :

1. Prescribed medication, over-the-counter medications and herbs you are taking.
2. When, how often, and should you take it with or without food/water/other medicines or supplements?
3. Side effects.
4. When is the medication going to start working?
5. Ask for a medication card for your wallet or make your own.
6. Remember that drugs have two names. Could you be taking the same medication twice?
7. Improve your health so you do not need to rely on many medications.

Knowledge is power.

Some Americans might have two or more doctors if they travel, own two homes, visit relatives or end up in an urgent care or emergency room.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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