Among the many health issues alcohol can influence, is a condition known as Cardiomyopathy, or to be more precise, Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy, also known as Dilated Cardiomyopathy.
NEW YORK, NY, September 23, 2016 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Alcoholic beverages have been part of the human social experience for thousands of years. Alcohol is intertwined in every aspect of our culture(s) and often plays an important role in celebratory and ceremonial occasions. But as with every good thing, we need to understand the consequence of over-use.
There are over 18 million people in the U.S. with some form of alcohol dependency. And it is well documented that long-term use and abuse of alcohol, carry with it, higher health risk factors that can include obesity, high blood pressure, liver disease, stroke, and cancer. Studies from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism conclude that alcohol can trigger short and long term "intentional and unintentional injuries, chronic and acute illnesses, and even death."
Among the many health issues alcohol can influence, is a condition known as Cardiomyopathy, or to be more precise, Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy, also known as Dilated Cardiomyopathy. Cardiomyopathy is a condition that affects the heart muscle, weakening its ability to pump blood to all of the other vital organs, and can ultimately lead to heart failure. Cardiomyopathy can be both inherited or acquired and indiscriminately affects people of all ages and race.
While it has been said that having the occasional drink or moderate daily use can have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system, chronic or excessive use can wreak havoc on the heart and an individual's overall health and well-being. And there is no shortage of data proving that in the U.S., heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. The addition of excessive or binge drinking can increase the risk of alcoholic cardiomyopathy, cardiac arrhythmia and heart attacks.
HOW DOES ALCOHOLIC CARDIOMYOPATHY IMPACT THE HEART?
According to studies published by the American Heart Association (AHA), when an individual suffers from alcoholic cardiomyopathy, "It affects the heart's ventricles and atria, the lower and upper chambers of the heart respectively...The Heart muscle begins to dilate, meaning it stretches and becomes thinner. Consequently, the inside of the chamber enlarges." When this happens, it causes decrease blood flow to the heart itself, brain, kidneys, liver and other tissues. This can lead to symptoms that include:
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling of feet, ankles and legs
- Dizziness or fainting
- Loss of appetite
- Trouble concentrating
- Irregular pulse
- Change in urine output
This particular type of cardiomyopathy is more likely to affect males more than females, and is more prevalent in people 35-50 years of age who have a history of long-term alcohol use; usually 4 drinks per day or 14 drinks per week in males and 3 drinks per day or 7 drinks per week in females. (one drink is 12 oz. of beer or 5 oz. of wine or 1.5 oz. of strong drink).
This condition is reversible if treated early with Ace inhibitors, beta-blockers especially carvedilol, lasix, digoxin, spirolactone, warfarin, etc. Biventricular pacing (CRT device) is used in advanced cases.
The 5-year survival is 30%. However, 50% of these cases can be cured within 2 years if treatment commences early and complete abstinence of alcohol is enforced.
If you drink daily or suspect you might have a chronic drinking condition, you should consult your personal physician or seek other professional medical treatment. If you have any of the symptoms affiliated with alcoholic cardiomyopathy you should consult your physician right away.
Because excessive drinking also weakens the immune system, making the body more susceptible to transmittable diseases - all of which can further damage or place stress on the heart, it is important to have regular check-ups.
Maisch, B. Herz (2016) 41: 484.
Drinking alcohol daily may enlarge heart chamber; lead to atrial fibrillation
American Heart Association Rapid Access Journal Report
Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016
NIH Publication No. 13-7604
Printed September 2010
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