Alcoholic cardiomyopathy as the name indicates is a disorder in which prolonged intake of alcohol leads to heart failure. It leads to thinning of heart muscles and enlargement of the heart due to excess consumption of alcohol. It causes the muscles of the heart to function inefficiently which ultimately leads to heart failure.
Alcoholic cardiomyopathy is a type of dilated cardiomyopathy. Due to the direct toxic effect of alcohol on the heart muscles, the heart is unable to pump blood efficiently.
Pathophysiology of alcoholic cardiomyopathy involves the following steps as the effects of excessive alcohol on
• There is inhibition of protein synthesis.
• Inhibition of oxidative phosphorylation.
• There is an accumulation of fatty acid ester.
• Damage to free radical.
• There is inhibition in calcium-myofilament interaction.
• Inflammatory and immunological factors.
• Receptor abnormalities.
• Disruption of the cell membrane structure.
• Coronary vasospasm.
• Synergy with concomitant conditions.
• Activation of the renin-angiotensin mechanism.
Affects males more than females.
Affects the persons of middle age group and less commonly people of younger age group.
Affects the patients who have a history of at least 10 years of alcohol intake on regular basis.
Symptoms of alcoholic cardiomyopathy remain undetected for a long time but as the disease advances the symptoms that appear are as follows
• Fatigue that gets worse with exercise.
• The patient complains of lack of alertness and concentration.
• Coughing at night with wheezing.
• Difficulty in breathing, the patient wakes up at night with the inability to breath.
• Shortness of breath when lying down.
• Chest congestion.
• Swelling of hands, legs, ankles and feet.
• Rapid and unexplained weight gain.
• Water retention.
• Abnormal heart beats.
• Rapid pulse rate.
• Fainting spells.
• Decreased urine output.
• Loss of appetite.
Following observations to be seen while investigating the cases
• Abnormal heart sounds.
• Abnormalities found in ECG.
• On X-ray examination of the chest, there is seen the enlarged heart.
• Cardiac catheterization.
• Angiogram to rule out any coronary artery blockages.
• Patient has a long history of alcohol consumption.
Symptoms of alcoholic cardiomyopathy may reduce with the proper course of medication.
If patient controls his habit of alcohol consumption than the damage to the heart decreases and recovery is also early by treatment.
In severe cases, it can lead to the death of the patient if heart failure occurs.
The major complication of alcoholic cardiomyopathy is heart failure.
There is no permanent treatment for alcoholic cardiomyopathy. Following treatment, steps help in controlling the symptoms of disease
• Medications which help in the pumping of a heart more effectively are as follows nitroglycerin, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors and potassium supplements.
• Medicines such as diuretics to reduce water retention.
• Medication for control of high blood pressure.
• Severe cases of disease require cardiac surgery.
• Kidney dialysis.
• Changes in lifestyle including diet and exercise.
• Fluid restriction.
• Stoppage of a habit of smoking.
An ideal diet for the patient of alcoholic cardiomyopathy
• Low sodium diet is indicated.
• A diet in which fluid intake is decreased to prevent water retention.
• Taking food which is low in cholesterol and fats.
• Avoid fast food, processed, fatty and fried foods.
• Eating food that is high in omega-3 fatty acids.
• Taking enough of dietary fibre.
• Taking supplements of vitamin B.
• Stopping alcohol immediately.
• Diet rich in potassium and magnesium such as bananas, apricots, oranges, grapefruits, wheat germ, soy, oatmeal, low-fat dairy products.
• Well indicated medicine for bad effects of alcohol especially on the heart.
• Well indicated medicine for alcoholic cardiomyopathy.
• There are irregular, tumultuous palpitations of the heart.
• Pulse of the patient is intermittent.
• The cardiac region is oppressed as if thorax was too narrow.
• Palpitations with hyperemia of the face.
• Well indicated medicine for acute alcoholism.
• There occurs tricuspid regurgitation.
• Pulse of the patient is rapid, feeble.
• Irregular cardiac action with low arterial tension.
• Jugular veins are pulsating.
• An effective medicine for treatment of alcoholic cardiomyopathy.
• This medicine is also helpful in heart complaints due to excessive alcohol intake.
• There occurs tremulous action of the heart.
• Angina pectoris.
• Numbness of left arm feels as if bound to the side.
• Heart’s action ceases suddenly, impending suffocation.
• Left sided inframammary pain.
Quercus gladium spiritus
•This medicine antidotes effect of alcohol.
• Takes away the craving for alcohol.
• Helps to treat alcoholic cardiomyopathy as it leads the patient to get an aversion to alcohol.
• Well indicated medicine for alcoholism.
• Sleeplessness especially in alcoholics.
• Helps in eradicating the habit for high consumption of alcohol.
• Thereby help in treating diseases developed due to excessive alcohol intake such as alcoholic cardiomyopathy.
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