How Alcohol Affects Heart Failure

Dilated cardiomyopathy secondary to alcohol use does not have a pre-defined exposure time. Daily alcohol consumption of 80 g per day or more for more than 5 years significantly increases the risk, however not all chronic alcohol users will develop Alcohol-induced cardiomyopathy. In 1819 the Irish physician Dr. Samuel Black, who had a special interest in angina pectoris described what is probably the first commentary pertinent to the ”French Paradox“ [91]. This refers to the finding in the last century that moderate alcohol consumption could be the reason for the relatively low cardiovascular disease incidence in wine-drinking regions [92].

Ask any patient presenting with new heart failure of unclear etiology about their alcohol history, with attention to daily, maximal, and lifetime intake and the duration of that intake. To identify the causative agent of AC, investigators administered ethanol to rats pretreated with inhibitors of ethanol metabolism. Use of ethanol alone or ethanol with an alcohol dehydrogenase inhibitor resulted in a 25% decrease in protein synthesis. When the rats were given an inhibitor of acetaldehyde dehydrogenase to increase levels of the ethanol metabolite acetaldehyde, an 80% decrease in protein synthesis occurred. Based on these data, acute ethanol-induced injury appears to be mediated by ethanol and acetaldehyde; the latter may play a more important role.

What Is the Long-Term Prognosis for Someone with Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy?

Unfortunately Lazarević et al[23], as in most of these studies, systematically excluded patients with a history of heart disease or with HF symptoms. It is therefore possible that most of these studies may have also consistently omitted most alcohol abusers in whom alcohol had already caused significant ventricular dysfunction. Diastolic dysfunction is the earliest sign of ACM and is usually seen in approximately 30% of patients with a history of chronic alcohol abuse with no evidence of systolic dysfunction nor left ventricle hypertrophy.

Alcohol intake may also interfere with the drug and dietary treatment of hypertension. This altogether supports a causal relationship between alcohol consumption and a hypertensive state. Although the most common cause of heart failure is coronary artery disease, ischemic cardiomyopathy is unlikely in the absence of a clear history of prior ischemic events or angina and in the absence of Q waves on the ECG strip. In most patients, exercise or pharmacologic stress testing with echocardiographic or nuclear imaging is an appropriate screening test for heart failure due to coronary artery disease.

What Kind of Cardiomyopathy Is Caused by Alcoholism?

In some cases, even just reducing alcohol intake to light or moderate levels can also lead to improvements. However, not drinking at all is still the best course of action whenever possible. 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.

Can I live normally with cardiomyopathy?

Catching cardiomyopathy early and getting proper treatment from experts gives you the best chance to live a healthy life. Some people never experience serious problems related to their inherited cardiomyopathy and may just need regular checkups.

Overall, your healthcare provider is the best source of information and answers when it comes to your recovery. Many medications can help in cases of alcohol-induced cardiomyopathy, treating the symptoms that happen because of this condition. Medications typically include beta-blockers (for heart rhythm and blood pressure issues) and diuretics (to help your body get rid of excess fluid and swelling). 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. If a person who has been diagnosed with alcohol cardiomyopathy has severe heart damage, the prognosis for the condition tends to be poor.

What Is Alcohol Cardiomyopathy?

According to the United Kingdom’s British Heart Foundation, an individual with a heart condition that causes arrhythmias may be more likely to experience one if they drink alcohol. Additionally, some people with alcoholic cardiomyopathy may need a pacemaker or other surgeries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) define heavy drinking as consuming eight or more drinks per week for women or 15 or more drinks per week for men. In summary, we found that real-time 3DE can detect the increases of LV volumes and mass in asymptomatic alcoholics, and the changes of LVEF and systolic synchrony index in symptomatic alcoholics. Real-time 3DE can detect the increases of LV volumes and mass in asymptomatic alcoholics, and the changes of LVEF and systolic synchrony index in symptomatic alcoholics. Dilated cardiomyopathy is the most common type, affecting about half of all people who have cardiomyopathy.

Many changes can be observed including premature atrial or ventricular contractions, supraventricular tachycardias, atrioventricular blocks,   bundle branch blocks, QT prolongation, non-specific ST and T wave changes and abnormal Q waves. Certain microscopic features may suggest damage secondary to alcohol causing cardiomyopathy. Commonly seen cellular structural alterations include changes in the mitochondrial reticulum, cluster formation of mitochondria and disappearance of inter-mitochondrial junctions.

Nutritional causes of “alcoholic” cardiomyopathy

One is aware today that alcohol may cause an acute but transient vasodilation, which may lead to an initial fall in blood pressure probably mediated by the atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) [46]. But also short- and long-term pressor effects mediated by the renin–aldosterone system and Top 5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing Sober House plasma vasopressin have been described [47, 48]. During the first half of the 20th century, the concept of beriberi heart disease (ie, thiamine deficiency) was present throughout the medical literature, and the idea that alcohol had any direct effect on the myocardium was doubted.

  • Her most recent admission with pancreatitis had occurred four months before the present admission.
  • Patients who consume more than two drinks per day have a 1.5- to 2-fold increase in hypertension compared with persons who do not drink alcohol, and this effect is most prominent when the daily intake of alcohol exceeds five drinks.
  • The myocyte mitochondria in the hearts of persons exposed to alcohol are clearly abnormal in structure, and many believe that this may be an important factor in the development of AC.

However, if you have a history of alcohol abuse and are experiencing any of the symptoms of alcoholic cardiomyopathy, it’s essential to see a doctor. Your doctor will likely run tests such as an echocardiogram and blood test to diagnose the condition. Heavy drinking can weaken and damage your heart muscle, leading to alcoholic cardiomyopathy. However, it’s important to note that not everyone with alcoholic cardiomyopathy will experience all of these symptoms.

Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy: Causes, Symptoms, and Diagnosis

Between 40% to 80% of people who continue to drink heavily will not survive more than 10 years after receiving this diagnosis. Because alcohol has a high calorie content, a person may gain weight through drinking, leading to high blood pressure. High blood pressure is one of the most important risk factors for having a heart attack or a stroke. If you can’t or don’t want to quit drinking, it’s essential to see a doctor regularly and get tested for alcoholic cardiomyopathy.

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