While there are many diseases that fall under the umbrella term heart disease, little attention is paid to cardiomyopathy. This disease is caused by long-term alcohol abuse and leads to heart failure in the victim.
Symptoms of this debilitating disease usually appear after the disease has progressed. Symptoms include swelling of the ankles, feet, and legs; Loss of appetite, difficulty breathing, tiredness, shortness of breath, decreased concentration, coughing up phlegm or pink material, need to urinate at night, palpitations and an irregular or rapid heart rate. Once these symptoms appear, the disease is already advanced.
The course of treatment for this disease is complete abstinence from alcohol. A restricted diet and medication are also prescribed. The most difficult part of treatment can be abstinence from alcohol. If a patient has abused alcohol in a way that causes heart disease, they have likely suffered from the disease of alcoholism for most of their life. It is imperative that the patient seek treatment for alcoholism as part of their overall treatment plan.
Finding the right treatment for alcoholism is not always easy. The patient must understand their alcohol abuse and be willing to treat it for treatment to be successful. The connection between heart disease and alcoholism must be clear to the patient so that they can understand the effects of their continued drinking. While heart disease may never be reversed, its progression can be slowed or stopped.
Many alcoholics fail to see the connection between their physical problems and the alcohol they consume. One of the most frustrating aspects of alcoholism is the denial that usually accompanies it. Families and friends of alcoholics are also usually guilty of this denial. Many families cover up a loved one’s drinking so they don’t feel the ill effects of their illness. This has to stop in any case, but especially in the case of alcohol-related heart diseases.
The patient suffers from two diseases and both must be treated successfully for the patient to survive. Families need to understand that covering up their problems and allowing them to drink uncontrollably is not helping the alcoholic. Every family member needs to be involved in the recovery of their loved ones. Participation can mean that family members no longer cover up the drinking and do not allow the alcoholic to lie about their drinking. Meeting your responsibilities is the best medicine a family can offer an alcoholic.
Although alcohol may have caused the heart disease, the patient need not contribute further to further deterioration. Heart disease caused by excessive and chronic drinking is a wake-up call for the alcoholic. It is a message from the body that their continued abuse must stop. You need to heed the warnings your body is giving you before it’s too late.
Thanks to John Jacobsen