Alcoholic cardiomyopathy is caused due to an excess intake of alcohol, which results in the damage of the heart muscles. This life-threatening disorder can be treated with timely diagnosis and medication. It is also better to gradually reduce and finally stop the intake of alcohol.
All of us know that consuming alcohol is not only a vice, but also affects the health of an individual. This is due to the fact that alcohol contains toxins, which when enter the body, can slowly deteriorate the function of the organs and lead to organ failure. One such heart disease that is caused due to an excessive intake of alcohol is alcoholic cardiomyopathy. This can be seen in men, mostly aged between 35 to 55 years and can also develop in any individual, who is under a prolonged influence of alcohol addiction. Though alcohol affects the entire body, the main organs affected are the heart and liver. Alcohol leads to the malfunctioning of the heart. This diastolic dysfunction caused due to alcohol poisoning, can impair the heart, thereby causing multiple organ failure, a condition which can be life-threatening. The chambers of the heart, including the blood vessels, may experience swelling, which may result in dilated cardiomyopathy. Excessive consumption of alcohol can also lead to another type of heart problem, called ischemic cardiomyopathy.
The signs and symptoms of this condition are usually subdued in the initial stages. However, the symptoms may surface, once the condition has intensified.
- The person may complain of chest pain and a feeling of discomfort. Heart murmur can also be heard during chest examination.
- Swelling of the lower extremities can be observed. Sometimes the entire body may swell up due to retention of fluid.
- Heart palpitations, accompanied by shortness of breath can be felt during an activity. The individual may also experience strained breathing while lying down.
- The individual may have an extreme urge to urinate at night, a condition known as nocturia. However, the urine output may be low (oliguria) contradictory to the urge.
- The individual may feel weak and fatigued due to a decrease in the oxygen levels in the blood.
- Feeling of fullness or bloating sensation can be experienced due to an enlarged liver.
- Other symptoms observed, that can be noticed in a person suffering from this heart disorder, are, abnormal sounds in the lungs, swelling in the veins of the neck, abnormally low blood pressure, etc.
Prognosis and Treatment
Diagnosis may include electrocardiogram (ECG), chest X-ray, and a coronary angiography etc. Once the exact condition of the heart is diagnosed, then the health care provider may administer the appropriate treatment. In case of heart failure, diuretics, beta blockers, and ACE inhibitors may be administered to remove excess fluid from the organs of the body. A device known as implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) may be inserted into the body to improve the heart’s pumping capacity. If this condition becomes irreversible, the doctor may advise the patient to undergo a heart transplant surgery.
Unfortunately the prognosis of alcoholic cardiomyopathy is very poor. In case of severe heart damage due to alcohol, the condition cannot be reversed. An irreversible heart damage and failure can result in death of the person. However, if the individual totally abstains from alcohol abuse and the symptoms are diagnosed early, there are chances that the health of the individual can improve.
It is advisable to quit alcohol and any other vices, since it is one of the best ways to avoid this degenerative disease from affecting you. It is essential to take proper care of your heart health to live a long and disease-free life. Stay healthy!