Long-Term Health Risks of Alcohol Use

When the heart struggles to pump blood as normal, it can begin expanding and become enlarged, causing significant strain and damage and leading to heart failure. Alcoholic cardiomyopathy is one type of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), the most common type. This condition https://ecosoberhouse.com/ affects the heart’s lower and upper chambers, the ventricles, and the atria. Alcoholic cardiomyopathy develops as a result of heavy and usually chronic alcohol abuse. Over time, excessive drinking weakens the heart muscles and impairs their ability to pump blood.

Can you fully recover from cardiomyopathy?

There's no cure for cardiomyopathy. However, you can manage the condition or slow its progression. Many people who make healthy lifestyle choices and seek medical treatment can live a high quality of life with cardiomyopathy.

Overall, your healthcare provider is the best source of information and answers when it comes to your recovery. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines heavy alcohol use — also known as heavy drinking — as more than eight drinks per week for women and more than 15 drinks per week for men. One drink is equal to 14 grams of pure alcohol, which can take many different forms because some forms have a higher concentration of alcohol than others. There is no magic number when it comes to ounces of wine to improve your vascular health. Even a small amount of alcohol can be detrimental if you’re already at risk of heart disease. The definition of moderate drinking is something of a balancing act.

Signs of Alcohol-Related Heart Disease

Untreated alcohol-induced cardiomyopathy may cause significant heart valve problems, blood clots, heart failure, and death. A doctor will examine your physical symptoms while also listening to your heart and lungs. Imaging tests like echocardiograms, chest x-rays, MRIs, and CT scans can detect changes in the heart’s shape or determine how tracers flow through the heart to determine a potential ailment. These tests, in combination with knowledge about the patient’s frequency of alcohol consumption, can lead to the diagnosis of alcoholic cardiomyopathy.

Quitting alcohol is often very difficult for people who are dependent on or addicted to alcohol. Meanwhile, radiofrequency ablation is a procedure alcoholic cardiomyopathy is especially dangerous because used to treat irregular heart rhythms. Catheters with electrodes at the tips are guided through the blood vessels to the heart.

Can cardiomyopathy be caused by alcohol?

Site information is not to be replaced with or considered professional medical advice. Nicole Arzt is a licensed marriage and family therapist working in Southern California. She has been privileged to provide therapeutic services for a wide variety of individuals, couples, and families. She writes for a variety of mental health professionals and small businesses. It’s important to note that alcohol-induced cardiomyopathy doesn’t always cause specific symptoms. Furthermore, symptoms may progress slowly, and you might assume they are due to something else (like asthma or panic attacks or even stress).

  • This makes a concerning progressive heart disease potentially easier to manage.
  • Over 5% of all deaths worldwide, three million yearly, are related to alcohol use, with long-term health impacts of alcohol playing a significant role in these deaths.
  • Supportive care for withdrawal is especially important because some of its symptoms can be severe or even life-threatening.
  • There is little evidence about the effects of alcohol on congestive heart failure, which makes it more challenging for health professionals to advise people with the condition.

If symptoms of heart problems (including ACM) do occur, it is essential to talk to your doctor or get help right away. Alcohol inhibits the absorption of vitamin B1, also called thiamine. Thiamine is essential for healthy brain function; low thiamine levels can cause inflammation in the brain. In the early stages of the condition, this inflammation is reversible; however, it can lead to permanent brain damage that causes persistent memory problems and hallucinations.


Over time, this means your heart can’t pump blood as effectively, which reduces your body’s available oxygen supply. All of that and limiting your alcohol intake is better for your heart than the power of one glass of wine. Heavy drinking in general increases your risk of developing a number of heart conditions.

Meanwhile, an electrocardiogram will show if you have an irregular heartbeat. When the heart is finding it difficult to pump normally, the blood stays in the left and right ventricles, and the heart thins out and expands to accommodate the blood. Once the heart becomes enlarged, it can cause severe damage, and ultimately, heart failure. While the liver gets a lot of attention, alcohol and its effect on the heart also need to be taken seriously. Harvard Health advises that fluid retention can be life threatening for a person with a history of heart failure.

This level of alcohol consumption can eventually lead to heart failure. Heavy drinking, on the other hand, is linked to a number of poor health outcomes, including heart conditions. Excessive alcohol intake can lead to high blood pressure, heart failure or stroke. Excessive drinking can also contribute to cardiomyopathy, a disorder that affects the heart muscle. Alcohol addiction can impact your physical health as well as your mental well-being.


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