Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy: Causes, Symptoms, and Diagnosis

While some people develop a tolerance to alcohol over time, this isn’t true for everyone — and this ability doesn’t last forever, Dr. Cho notes. It’s also important to know that the ways in which alcohol affects your heart will vary from person to person, depending on your age and other conditions you may have. What’s more, alcohol can contribute to obesity and the long list of health problems that can go along with it. Alcohol is a source of excess calories and a cause of weight gain that can be harmful in the long term. Having hypertension, or high blood pressure, can thicken and harden arteries which can lead to blood clots.

  • Binge drinking — four or more drinks for women and five or more for men in about 2 hours — can cause irregular heart rhythms called arrhythmias.
  • When we compare this energy source to our three major nutrients for energy – carbohydrates, proteins and fats – alcohol is a poor source of energy and very lacking in nutrients.
  • We want to give recovering addicts the tools to return to the outside world completely substance-free and successful.
  • The toxicity of alcohol damages and weakens the heart muscle over time.

The outlook for people with alcoholic cardiomyopathy varies depending on how long alcohol was abused and how much alcohol was consumed during that time. In cases where the damage to the heart is severe, the chances of complete recovery are low. Once the damage is considered irreversible, it’s difficult for the heart and rest of the body to recover. Alcohol abuse has a toxic effect on many of your organs, including the heart. The toxicity of alcohol damages and weakens the heart muscle over time. This makes it difficult for your heart to pump blood efficiently.

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There is some evidence that moderate amounts of alcohol might help to slightly raise levels of “good” HDL cholesterol. Researchers have also suggested that red wine, in particular, might protect the heart, thanks to the antioxidants it contains. Moderate drinking — one drink a day for women and two for men — appears to protect some people against heart disease. How To Clean Your System From Alcohol In 24 Hours? Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can lead to atrial fibrillation (AFib). Even those who drink minimal amounts of alcohol in moderation can develop AFib, a condition where your heart beats fast and out of rhythm. Maintaining a healthy diet and managing your alcohol intake can reduce health problems that may occur in those who drink too many alcoholic drinks.

Surgeries carry a risk of bleeding or infection, along with other risks that vary by procedure. If you’re concerned about these and other risks, talk to your provider about what safeguards are in place to protect you. In some cases, elite athletes will develop an enlarged heart just due to repeated exertion. In this case, the heart’s function will be normal (or even better than normal) despite the enlargement. Many disease processes can cause the heart to dilate due to problems with the underlying heart muscle. In these cases, despite the heart being bigger, its function actually worsens.

Other factors to keep in mind

The last thing you want is for that casual drink after work or glass of wine at dinner to negatively impact your heart health. There’s a way to have a healthy, balanced relationship with alcohol that lets you enjoy a drink occasionally and celebrate with friends and family. But your heart is an important organ that should also be cared for, so be sure to drink in moderation, learn about binge drinking and know what your body can (and can’t) tolerate before opening that tab. To get any health benefits from alcohol, keep your drinking light. Heavy drinking can make you more likely to get serious health problems like liver disease, cancer, and peptic ulcers, among others.

alcohol and enlarged heart

Avoiding it may help someone maintain a moderate weight and improve their overall heart health. A review of evidence in the Nursing Times concluded that there is very little research on the effects of alcohol on people with heart failure. Doctors consider being mindful of alcohol intake, excess calories, and adequate activity part of a healthy lifestyle. If you have an irregular heart rhythm, instead of beating in its familiar pattern, the heart flutters or beats too slowly or too quickly.

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