Alcohol cardiomyopathy is a disorder caused by chronic consumption of alcohol. Long-term drinking leads to weakening of the heart muscles affecting its efficiency to pump blood to different organs of the body. As a result, the heart starts expanding to accommodate the extra blood and gets thin. Over a period, due to the excessive strain, the blood vessels and heart muscles get damaged causing dysregulated circulation. This can lead to heart failure or other life-threatening disorders.
Alcohol cardiomyopathy is most common in men aged 35-50 but it can affect women as well. People struggling with this disorder usually have a history of alcohol consumption, anywhere between 5-15 years. The susceptibility to the disorder increases when men and women increase their daily recommended intake of alcohol. For men, heavy drinking amounts to more than 4 drinks a day or more than 14 drinks per week whereas, for women, heavy drinking is associated with more than 3 drinks per day or more than 7 drinks per week.
Alcohol cardiomyopathy usually doesn’t have any conspicuous symptoms but when it does, the disease is usually in the advanced stage. The symptoms could be of fatigue, swelling in legs, shortness of breath, loss of concentration, and appetite, change in the urine output, rapid pulse, cough with pink colored mucus and heart failure. The risk of such health complications can be reduced if a person decides to quit and remain firm.
Here are a few ways to help a person quit alcohol and regain control of life:
- Start with setting a goal: If one is serious about quitting alcohol, then he or she should understand that going cold turkey is not a good solution as it can cause relapse. It is advisable to set goals and gradually taper off by limiting the daily and weekly intake, avoiding alcohol parties and the triggers.
- Never stock alcohol at home: When a person feels low or has the urge to drink, he/she may want to open the cabinet and take out the favorite brand without realizing that one can lose the count of drinks. Hence, one should not keep any alcoholic beverages at home. Out of sight, out of mind!
- Try alcohol-free bars: Nowadays, the cities are abuzz with alcohol-free bars and people who are sober or trying to get sober can visit these. These places usually serve non-alcoholic beverages or beverages with very low amount of alcohol. These are good places to socialize and be encouraged by people who have faced similar struggles and emerged victorious.
- Take care of the body and mind: When one feeds the body with sugar, processed carbs and junk food, the blood sugar levels get disturbed. This leads to mood fluctuations, which can compel one to have a drink to calm the nerves. One should nourish the body with lots of raw vegetables and fruits, organic and farm fresh produce, and water to stabilize the blood sugar levels. In addition, one must devote some time in relaxing the mind through yoga, meditation and other mindfulness techniques.
Reaching out for professional help
Alcohol cardiomyopathy is a treatable disorder if one controls the drinking habit and seeks support from an addiction specialist. One can reduce the risk of being afflicted with the disorder by gaining awareness about the ill effects of alcohol addiction and taking corrective steps in time.
Irrespective of the amount consumed, alcohol can be dangerous for both physical and mental health. If you or someone close to you is addicted to alcohol, contact the Alcohol Addiction Helpline of California to find the best alcohol rehab centers in California. Call our 24/7 helpline 855-980-1715 or chat online with one of our representatives to connect to the best alcohol addiction treatment facilities in California equipped with all the means to treat the addiction and help a person walk the path of sobriety.