Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control. Heart disease causes one in every four deaths in the United States—about 610,000 people every year. Excessive alcohol use is recognized by the CDC as a major risk factor in the development of heart disease, along with diabetes, obesity, poor diet, and physical inactivity. The potential to develop heart disease or face other health consequences increases dramatically in individuals suffering from alcoholism. Alcoholic cardiomyopathy is a form of heart disease directly caused by alcohol consumption. According to the National Institute of Health, “Alcoholic cardiomyopathy is characterized by left ventricular dilation, increased left ventricular mass, and reduced or normal left ventricular wall thickness among patients with a long-term history of heavy alcohol consumption (5-15 years).” Alcoholic cardiomyopathy occurs when the heart muscles are weakened and the heart can no longer efficiently pump blood, leading to disruptions in the body’s ability to function and the possibility of heart failure and death. According to Health Line, “Alcoholic cardiomyopathy is most common in men between the ages of 35 and 50, but the condition can affect women as well. People with alcoholic cardiomyopathy often have a history of heavy, long-term drinking, usually between five and 15 years. Heavy drinking is alcohol consumption that exceeds the recommended daily limits.” Heavy drinking is described as four or more drinks per day for men and three or more drinks per day for women. Fortunately, many of the damaging effects on the heart resolve overtime with the cessation of alcohol consumption. The NIH explains, “Previous reports suggest that even among alcoholic patients, alcohol abstinence leads to improved survival in patients with alcoholic cardiomyopathy.” There is also the possibility of experiencing heart problems from short-term alcohol consumption. Holiday Heart Syndrome is a complication that can result from binge drinking and is characterized by severe chest pain, mimicking the feelings of having a heart attack. According to Drink Aware, “Holiday Heart Syndrome tends to come on after episodes of heavy drinking – usually at least 15 units (about seven and a half pints of 4% beer or one and a half bottles of 13% wine). If this happens, your heart starts to beat irregularly making you feel breathless. Your blood pressure changes, increasing your risk of a heart attack and sudden death.” Sobriety is necessary if an individual suffering from alcoholism is to avoid the potentially devastating consequences of alcohol on the heart.
Your life doesn’t have to be one of pain and suffering in alcoholism. You can change your story and begin building a brighter future in sobriety. Oceanfront Recovery, a treatment center in beautiful Laguna Beach, is staffed with experienced and compassionate professionals dedicated to providing you all the tools necessary to achieve and maintain sobriety. For information about individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777