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Is Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy Reversible? Leave a comment

In other words, no symptoms are present until alcoholic cardiomyopathy has already progressed, possibly leading to heart failure. As previously stated, the first step in treatment will be abstaining from alcohol. Since alcoholic cardiomyopathy comes after years of alcohol usage, your doctor may recommend an addiction treatment rehab program. If you believe that you have alcoholic cardiomyopathy, you must schedule an appointment with your primary care physician immediately. They will give you a physical exam, during the appointment, and take your pulse and blood pressure, as well as listening to your lungs and heart. If you have any of these symptoms and are a chronic alcohol drinker, please see your doctor right away. Early diagnosis is critical in the treatment of cardiomyopathy.


It is a alcoholic cardiomyopathy that develops over a long period of frequent and heavy drinking. Binge drinking induces a systemic inflammatory reaction, which may lead to alcohol-induced myocardial inflammation. The study did not provide evidence of an absolute acute risk of cardiac events involved with binge drinking, and the clinical significance of the findings requires further investigation. This was interpreted by the authors as suggesting that acetaldehyde plays a key role in the cardiac dysfunction seen after alcohol intake. Others have suggested that an acute decrease in mitochondrial glutathione content may play a role in mitochondrial damage and implicate oxidative stress as a contributor in this process. During the first half of the 20th century, the concept of beriberi heart disease was present throughout the medical literature, and the idea that alcohol had any direct effect on the myocardium was doubted. Epidemics of heart failure in persons who had consumed beer contaminated with arsenic in the 1900s and cobalt in the 1960s also obscured the observation that alcohol could exhibit a direct toxic effect.

What is the long-term outlook for someone with alcoholic cardiomyopathy?

Long-term alcohol abuse weakens and thins the heart muscle, affecting its ability to pump blood. When your heart can’t pump blood efficiently, the lack of blood flow disrupts all your body’s major functions. This can lead to heart failure and other life-threatening health problems. Treatment for alcoholic cardiomyopathy involves lifestyle changes, including complete abstinence from alcohol use, a low sodium diet, and fluid restriction, as well as medications. Medications may include ACE inhibitors, beta blockers, and diuretics which are commonly used in other forms of cardiomyopathy to reduce the strain on the heart. Persons with congestive heart failure may be considered for surgical insertion of an ICD or a pacemaker which can improve heart function.

dependence with alcohol

Soon all parts of your heart—ventricles, atria—become affected by the thinning and enlargement of the heart. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that as many as one out of every 500 American adults likely suffers from cardiomyopathy. The specific form of the disease, dilated cardiomyopathy may be inherited or can develop as a side effect of certain diseases or the introductions of toxins, including alcohol. Consequently, alcohol consumption should be avoided in all patients with substantial heart failure and in those whose cardiomyopathy is suspected to be primarily from alcohol regardless of severity. Echocardiography is perhaps the most useful initial diagnostic tool in the evaluation of patients with heart failure. Because of the ease and speed of the test and its noninvasive nature, it is the study of choice in the initial and follow-up evaluation of most forms of cardiomyopathy.

Seek Treatment At Vertava Health

If it is caught in the early stages and the stops drinking and seeks treatment, it can be completely reversed. This allows the doctor to measure the pressure in heart chambers and determine how forcefully the blood is pumping. Cardiac catheterization can show up blockages in the blood vessels.

The exact manner in which alcohol produces this effect is not known, but the effect is consistent, is observed throughout the heart, and may be exaggerated under stressful conditions. Getting regular checkups is key when it comes to reducing your risk of heart disease and catching issues early before they cause serious complications. Chest X-rays or a chest CT scan can show if the heart is already enlarged. As mentioned above, the lower chambers of your heart pump the hardest. If they aren’t pumping enough blood, it can cause you to pass out, or it may even stop your heart . While this problem is less common with acute alcohol-induced cardiomyopathy, it’s still extremely dangerous.

Public Health Policy

Some research suggests that alcohol use, specifically red wine, may reduce the risk of developing heart diseases. TheAmerican Heart Association, however, has found that regular use of alcoholic beverages has not been definitively shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. Instead, a proper diet and regular exercise are better ways to maintain good heart health. The AHA also reports that any potential benefits that red wine may create can be obtained from other non-alcoholic sources, such as grape juice. AHA reports that dilated cardiomyopathy is the most common form of cardiomyopathy and involves the heart’s atria, ventricles, and chambers. Chronic alcohol abuse can cause alcoholic cardiomyopathy, or DCM, which can lead to congestive heart failure and other potential life-threatening complications. Develops have been drinking more than 80 to 90 g of ethanol per day for more than 5 yr.

Alcohol consumption of 80 g per day for at least 5 years significantly increases the risk of developing ACM but, not all chronic alcohol abusers develop ACM. Treatment for this condition starts with helping you reduce your alcohol intake or stop drinking entirely. That also may involve supportive care that will help prevent — or at least reduce the impact of — any alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Supportive care for withdrawal is especially important because some of its symptoms can be severe or even life-threatening. A healthcare provider can also connect you with available resources and refer you to other specialists and experts who can help you reduce or stop your alcohol intake. The short answer to what causes alcoholic cardiomyopathy is heavy and typically chronic alcohol use.

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