Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy - Topic Overview
Alcoholic cardiomyopathy is caused by long-term alcohol abuse. The
heart muscle is weakened and cannot pump blood efficiently, leading to heart
Symptoms are the result of heart failure and include fatigue,
shortness of breath, swelling, and cough. Muscular weakness may also be present
because of the effect of alcohol on muscles (alcoholic myopathy).
Hospitalization may be required if there is alcohol dependency.
Quitting drinking often results in improved heart function. Continued alcohol
consumption, on the other hand, will continue to make heart failure worse.
Treatment also often includes standard treatment for heart failure, such as
lifestyle changes and medicines.
Alcohol in excessive quantities has a directly toxic effect on heart
muscle cells. Also, people who abuse alcohol often have poor diets and vitamin
deficiencies that in turn damage the heart.