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What is alcoholic cardiomyopathy


Many people underestimate the negative impact of alcohol on the human body. Meanwhile, people who abuse alcohol destroy your heart: 50% of the cases regular use of large doses of alcohol leads to damage of myocardium, in which the developing alcoholic cardiomyopathy.

This disease can be years does not show itself, but the damage to the heart muscle bad impact on the whole body, and death as a result of alcoholic cardiomyopathy, unfortunately, not uncommon.

This disease is rather widespread, especially in Russia, with its high degree of alcoholization of the population. However, notoriety, neither cardiomyopathy nor its consequences have not received. Largely the reason for this is that people who abuse alcohol do not recognize this fact or hide it from doctors. Treatment of cardiomyopathy requires effort and time, as the destructive effect of alcohol on the heart is quite impressive.

What happens to the heart under the influence of alcohol

Alcoholic cardiomyopathy develops as a result of the pathogenic effect of ethanol on the heart muscle. Our body itself produces ethanol, however, the natural doses are very small and help the body to function normally. In higher doses, this substance is poisonous, the cells of the heart under its influence, are exposed to intoxication and gradually destroyed.

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As a result, over time, the myocardium becomes loose and can not cope with its responsibilities, these changes are irreversible. The heart muscle may become completely unsustainable, and this means that death is not far off.

Cardiomyopathy often occurs in the chronic form, so people can skip the first symptoms or don't feel. However, in the beginning of the disease can save you from dangerous consequences.

If the treatment is absent, but destruction of the cells of the myocardium, degenerative changes occur in the walls of the coronary arteries, as well as in nerve fibers of the heart. As a result of these changes, the cardiomyopathy progresses, the heart wears out faster and becomes more vulnerable to other diseases.

Clinical phases and forms of

A detailed description of such diseases as alcoholic cardiomyopathy, medical scientists were given in the 70-ies of XX century. Have been described various forms of the disease and the stage of its flow. It is important for physicians, as it allows to more accurately present a picture of pathological changes in the heart and throughout the body and to choose the most appropriate treatment.

Forms of alcoholiccardiomyopathy

  • Classic
  • Pseudodementia,
  • Arrhythmic.

In the classical form of cardiomyopathy person concerned about the following symptoms:

  • pain and disruptions in heart
  • shortness of breath,
  • palpitations.

When psevdoliricheskaya the form of the leading symptoms - pain in the heart that can manifest as physical exertion, and without it. When arrhythmic form to the fore of rhythm disorders, which are manifested by palpitations, interruptions in heart work. These violations are so severe, that the patient during an arrhythmia may feel dizzy and even lose consciousness. Death may occur suddenly.

The stage of the disease

  • The first stage with episodic manifestations. It develops the abuse of alcohol within 10 years.
  • The second stage develops in the second ten years of alcoholism. There are all the symptoms of heart failure: shortness of breath, edema, cyanosis of the lips, face, feet and hands, appear arrhythmias.
  • In the third stage develops severe circulatory failure, accompanied by dysfunction of some internal organs.

Symptoms of alcoholic cardiomyopathy

  • Heart pain,
  • Slightly elevated temperature,
  • Enlargement of the heart,
  • Shortness of breath and swelling due to circulatory failure,
  • Interruptions in heart work,
  • Disruptions in the rhythm,
  • Dizziness,
  • Changes on the ECG: premature beats, atrial fibrillation, paroxysmal tachycardia.

Maximum symptoms of alcoholic cardiomyopathy manifested during abstinence, that is, not immediately after drinking alcohol, and after a few days. The most bad feeling sick after a binge, a period when he does not drink alcohol. The main symptom is pain. They are rarely associated with physical activity. Most often, pain occur at night or in the morning are prolonged, but moderate. The taking nitroglycerin usually does not help.

The breath of the patient frequent and superficial, shortness of breath, is not only under load but also at rest. You can feel a lack of air, which takes place at the exit to the street. In severe heart damage shortness of breath worsens in lying position, therefore patients are forced to sleep in polusidya position.

Swelling first observed in the legs, with increased symptoms and the development of the disease the swelling spread to the whole body.

This is due to reduced circulation in the large and small circles. It also increases the liver, in severe cases there may be ascites (fluid accumulation in the abdomen).

Diagnosis andtreatment

Symptoms of cardiomopathy can speak for themselves, however, the right treatment requires an accurate diagnosis. To differentiate with other diseases, e.g. coronary heart disease, you need a detailed examination. With its help, the doctor finds out what is the status of the heart and how it can do the job.

Diagnostic procedures

  • Electrocardiography,
  • Ultrasound of the heart,
  • Stress test,
  • Daily monitoring.

In addition, it is necessary to consult a psychiatrist for setting or confirmation of the diagnosis of chronic alcoholism.

Alcoholic cardiomyopathy should be treated comprehensively. Treatment aims to eliminate or alleviate symptoms, improve heart health and provide him the opportunity to function normally. The first and most important condition for successful problem - refusal from alcohol, because it is a major factor in heart damage and the development of cardiomyopathy.


If you continue taking alcohol, that complications will not take long, the disease will progress, there will be more complications, the worst of which is death from cardiac arrest.

Treatment should be held in special medical institution. Patients assigned to diet, receiving cardiac medications, therapy to strengthen the immune system.

The diet of a patient with cardiomyopathy should provide the body with everything necessary to support the work of the heart. In particular, the diet should include foods rich in potassium and magnesium, for example, zucchini, baked potatoes, dried apricots.

However, when choosing a diet it is important to note that alcoholics often suffer from gastric diseases. In the case of gastritis or peptic ulcer food is to spare the stomach.

Drug therapy

  • Beta-blockers severe symptoms of heart failure,
  • Cardiac glycosides,
  • Vitamin complexes,
  • Restorative and immunomodulatory drugs.

The treatment will take time and accurate execution of a physician. To heal is quite difficult, but possible. If the damage has not gone too far, you are able to stop destructive processes and to support the heart. Necessary for the success of treatment a person needs to change their way of life.

In addition to abstinence from alcohol, prompt treatment, you need to secure a balanced diet, feasible and definitely regular exercise. Often the patient requires assistance and support of others, well, if such people are. However, the positive Outlook is only possible whenthe man himself wants to overcome the disease.