We all know that excessive alcohol consumption can lead to many side effects. These side effects can be as simple as a hangover or complicated medical conditions like liver damages.

One condition that can occur from alcohol abuse is a heart disease known as alcoholic cardiomyopathy.

What is Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy?

The heart is an important organ in our body. Unfortunately, there are many diseases that can cause problems to our hearts.

Excessive alcohol consumption can weaken or thin the muscles in the heart. This affects its function to pump blood to our body. With the decreased blood flow, our body will struggle in doing all its other functions. This can lead to more life-threatening health conditions.

This condition is called alcoholic cardiomyopathy. This can cause the heart to expand for it to hold more blood to pump. If the condition is prolonged, it may lead to the heart muscles and blood vessels to malfunction due to damages.

Alcoholic cardiomyopathy occurs more often in men than women. It can appear during the ages between 35 to 50 years. As the name suggests, it is caused by heavy drinking.


What are the Symptoms of Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy?

Alcoholic cardiomyopathy can begin after 5 to 15 years of heavy drinking. It’s important to be mindful about these symptoms:

  • Rapid or irregular pulse
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Swelling of the legs, feet, and ankles
  • Appetite loss
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Change in the amount of urine
  • A cough with frothy and pink mucus

If symptoms occur, seek your doctor’s advice immediately. There are times where symptoms don’t appear until the condition is already severe. In such cases, the symptoms may already be caused by heart failure.


How to Detect Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy?

Consult with your doctor if you think that you may have alcoholic cardiomyopathy. For a comprehensive diagnosis, a physical examination, laboratory tests, and X-rays may be required.

The physical exams are for your doctor to detect any abnormalities with your heart and lungs. The laboratory tests may not confirm the presence of alcoholic cardiomyopathy. But they can detect the degree of damage in your heart and potential damages to other organs. X-rays, CT scans, and other diagnostic tests can show if the heart is enlarged and if there is any fluid in the lungs.

These tests can give your doctor all the information to determine the best treatment for your condition.

How to Treat Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy?

If detected early, alcoholic cardiomyopathy can be treated. Avoiding alcohol and following a healthy diet is the first approach. But, avoiding alcohol may lead to withdrawal. Ask your doctor how to avoid or manage withdrawal from alcohol.

Other than medication to control your blood pressure, you will need to follow a low-salt diet. Taking diuretics is also advisable to promote removal of salt from your body through urination.

In severe conditions, implanting defibrillators or pacemakers may be required. They can help your heart function.

Alcoholism or excess in drinking liquor can lead to many other health conditions. These conditions can be permanent or life-threatening. While the occasional drink is fun, keep it in moderation to avoid such undesired effects.

Medicine has come a long way over the last few years. Surgeons can clone sheep and have developed hypoallergenic kittens.

Doctors have learned how to manage HIV and are pushing the boundaries of treatment for a myriad different chronic diseases. The one thing society has not yet come to terms with, however, is how to cure a hangover.

If a hangover is to be viewed as an illness, it is up there with ‘Flu as a debilitating and demoralising state. It makes the mouth feel like the bottom of a bird cage, and leaves the sufferer’s body feeling as if he had undergone ten rounds in a boxing ring the night before, without having the associated cash bonus that accompanies such activities. It leaves the eyes puffy and red, a monstrous headache, and a stomach so fragile that even the thought of food makes it churn like a merry-go-round. No-one sympathises with a hangover, as it is self-inflicted, and yet the symptoms can often be worse than a terrible cold.

Common Myths About Cures

Through time, there have been a number of myths surrounding the best possible ways to cure a hangover and get the sufferer up and about again. The most common one is the ‘Hair of the Dog’. Most people agree that if the hangover sufferer can face it, a swift drink can ease symptoms and get people up on their feet again and feeling relatively human once more. However, while a drink will offer some temporary relief, the last thing a body drenched in alcohol really needs is a top up. The Hair of the Dog will leave the sufferer feeling even worse after a few hours, and is best avoided if possible.

Other Cures which are Sworn by Include:

  • A can of Coke and a banana
  • A raw egg beaten in to milk
  • A huge fried breakfast from a greasy spoon cafe
  • Total abstinence.

All of these cures have their merits. Abstinence, of course, is the best way to avoid a hangover, but who really wants to stop drinking completely? It is only after the effects have taken place and the evening is over that people swear never to drink again, after all! Coke, banana, egg and milk all help too, as does the breakfast if it can be stomached, as anything which peps up blood sugar levels can be helpful in alleviating the symptoms. However, there are some foolproof ways of beating the hangover once and for all.

How to Avoid a Hangover Completely

The following rules will keep the drinker safe from the Morning After effects, while ensuring a good evening:

  • Eat a decent meal before going out, and line the stomach with milk if possible before drinking
  • Take regular breaks from alcoholic drinks, alternating with water
  • Do not mix drinks – stick to one type
  • Avoid neat shots such as Tequila or Vodka like the plague!
  • Drink at least a pint of water before bed, to avoid dehydration
  • Eat, if possible, before bed to keep blood sugar levels high
  • Drink less alcohol!
  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Take two Paracetamol upon waking, if symptoms are still present.

Obviously, drinking responsibly and in moderation is the best way to avoid feeling rough in the morning following a good night out. However, sticking to the tips above should assist the party-goer to have a safe, hangover-free and altogether superb evening out.