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Alcoholic cardiomyopathy: cause of death, symptoms and treatment.

Alcoholic cardiomyopathy – A heart disease that develops due to regular consumption of alcohol. It is a special case of dilated cardiomyopathy and leads to an enlarged heart.

It develops over the years, and may initially be asymptomatic.

What is it

Alcoholic cardiomyopathy is a secondary myocardial disease caused by alcohol. It occurs due to the toxic effect of ethanol on myocardial cells.

It causes heart failure, often accompanied by myocardial ischemia.

There is an increase in all parts of the heart muscle, as well as the stretching of the walls of the chambers and partitions, which thin out and lose their tone. Often, the disease is detected in men who abuse alcohol.

Causes of development

Alcoholic cardiomyopathy: cause of death, symptoms and treatment.

The main cause of the disease is the use of large doses of alcohol for more than 10 years. To develop a cardiomyopathy, it is sufficient to take 100 ml of pure ethanol regularly.

The pathology is detected in 50% of people with alcoholism, and in 20% of them the disease is fatal.

Most of the time, the disease is found in men older than 45 years, but also women who develop pathology develop more rapidly. If it appears in men after 10 years of regular use of ethanol, in women it is from 4 to 5 years.

People with coronary disease, diabetes and hypertension are susceptible to the disease.

IMPORTANT! Heart failure due to alcohol intake develops faster than cirrhosis and mental disorders.

The disease is often detected in the lower socioeconomic stratum, but often wealthy people who abuse alcoholic beverages receive this type of diagnosis. Due to the prolonged asymptomatic period, it is difficult to detect it at the beginning of the development and to initiate an opportune treatment.

Symptoms and signs

Heart disease manifests gradually over several decades.

Initially, a person suffers from:

  • Headaches and insomnia,
  • A heart rhythm disorder occurs
  • Dyspnea appears
  • In the initial stage, the deterioration of health occurs the next day after taking large doses of alcohol.

As the disease progresses, its symptoms manifest constantly and do not pass during periods of abstinence from alcohol.

Many patients categorically deny their addiction to alcohol and do not see the relationship between unpleasant symptoms and alcohol consumption.

People suffering from cardiomyopathy have the following external signs:

  • Redness of the skin.
  • Handshake
  • The expansion of the vessels of the nose.
  • Sclera yellow eye.
  • Increase or decrease in body weight.
  • Greater agitation, restlessness.

With the progression of the symptoms it becomes more pronounced.

In addition to changes in appearance, a person complains about:

  • Lack of air
  • Suffocation
  • Palpitations
  • Heat and sweating
  • Cold members.
Alcoholic cardiomyopathy: cause of death, symptoms and treatment.

The consequences of a prolonged consumption of alcohol.

Arrhythmia, tachycardia and hypertension are detected in patients. Due to the constant intake of ethanol, there is an alteration in the liver and kidneys, which affects digestion and causes stagnant fluids.

These signs and symptoms are not accompanied by an enlarged heart and may manifest for 10 years, which is characteristic of the first stage of alcoholic cardiomyopathy.

IMPORTANT! Stage 2 alcoholic cardiomyopathy develops with the use of large doses of alcohol for more than 10 years, but perhaps earlier.

Alcoholic cardiomyopathy: cause of death, symptoms and treatment.

Signs of cardiomyopathy

For stage 2 of the disease is characteristic:

  • Increase of the cardiac muscle.
  • Regular pain in the heart.
  • Constant inflammation of the extremities.
  • Abdomen increased.
  • Blue nose
  • Cough and shortness of breath after alcohol.

People with stage 2-3 cardiomyopathy often have cirrhosis, gastric ulcer, gastritis and kidney disease. Patients suffer from general exhaustion, weakness and, often, mental pathologies.

The development of acute heart failure.

IMPORTANT! For stage 3 cardiomyopathy, cardiosclerosis and arachnofibrosis (fibrosis of the pia mater) are characteristic, which most often leads to death.

The fatal outcome in the third stage is caused not only by the alcoholic heart, but also by numerous changes in all internal organs and systems. Due to the toxic effects of ethanol, the cells of the pancreas, brain, liver and kidneys are destroyed.

Cause of death

Heart failure and alcohol are two concepts that are closely related to each other. Frequent consumption of alcohol leads to heart failure, which often results in a flight result as a result of circulatory disorders.

In 35% of cases, alcoholic cardiomyopathy causes instantaneous death as a result of arrhythmias and heart failure.

Alcoholic cardiomyopathy: cause of death, symptoms and treatment.

The image Heart failure

Alcoholic cardiomyopathy leads to death in only 20% of patients. This is not only due to damage to the heart, but also to other organs.

The highest mortality rate among people who abruptly abandoned alcohol or use it in very large quantities. Those who drink alcohol in moderation rarely end their lives fatally.

How to diagnose alcoholic cardiomyopathy?

To make the correct diagnosis, it is important to visit the narcologist. Many patients hide their addiction to drinking, which makes the treatment less productive: it is impossible to cure alcoholic cardiomyopathy without stopping alcohol.

To diagnose the disease, the following tests are required:

Alcoholic cardiomyopathy: cause of death, symptoms and treatment.

  • ECG Identifies the nature of cardiac arrhythmias.
  • X-rays may reveal venous congestion in the lungs and an increase in the shadow of the heart muscle.
  • Echocardiography Determine the size of the heart and the volume of the cameras.
  • General and biochemical analysis of the blood.
  • Ultrasound of the abdominal organs and thyroid gland.

Existing treatments

The disease requires comprehensive treatment and the mandatory exemption from alcohol. The therapy aims to eliminate symptoms and improve cardiac function.

The treatment must be done in a special medical center under the supervision of specialists.

Treatment regimens include heart medications and medications to strengthen

Alcoholic cardiomyopathy: cause of death, symptoms and treatment.


During therapy, nutrition plays an important role. The diet should be rich in potassium and magnesium, which are necessary for normal heart function.

When a stomach disease is assigned a special soft diet. Showing light exercise and avoiding stressful situations.


In the first stage of alcoholic cardiomyopathy, it is enough to lead a correct lifestyle and to abandon alcohol to prevent irreversible changes in the heart muscle. In stages 2 and 3, such measures will not be sufficient and it is necessary to undergo therapy in a specialized medical institution.

People suffering from alcoholic cardiomyopathy should follow certain rules both during and after treatment:

  • Do not drink alcohol completely.
    Alcoholic cardiomyopathy: cause of death, symptoms and treatment.
  • Eat well
  • Participate in physical activity.
  • Sleep at least 8 hours a day.
  • Avoid stressful situations.

Not all people can independently overcome alcoholic cardiomyopathy, especially if the disease has already caused abnormalities in the work of the heart. An experienced specialist will help you choose effective and safe medications, as well as overcome the desire for alcohol, which became the cause of heart disease.

The most appropriate treatment for cardiomyopathy is the initial stage. But many patients go to a specialist only when all the signs of irregularities in the work of the heart and other organs are visible.

It is important to choose the correct medications and strictly follow all prescriptions of the treating physician.

If a person refuses treatment and continues to use both hard liquor and beer, the prognosis is bad. In any period, regardless of the duration of the illness, a sudden death may occur.

If the disease progresses rapidly and is characterized by severe symptoms, death occurs at 3-4 years.

The video Cardiomyopathy – symptoms, causes and risk groups.

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