While there are many illnesses that fall under the umbrella of heart disease, one that receives little attention is Cardiomyopathy. This disease is caused by long term alcohol abuse and leads to heart failure in the victim.
The symptoms of this debilitating disease usually start to occur after the disease has advanced. The symptoms are swelling of the ankles, feet and legs; loss of appetite, difficulty breathing, fatigue, shortness of breath, decreased concentration, cough with mucus or pink material, need to urinate at night, palpitations, and irregular or rapid pulse. Once these symptoms have begun to present themselves the disease has already advanced.
The treatment course for this disease is a complete abstinence from alcohol. A restricted diet and medications will also be prescribed. The most difficult part of the treatment may be the abstinence from alcohol. If a patient has abused alcohol to the point of causing heart disease they have probably suffered with the disease of alcoholism for most of their life. It is absolutely imperative that the patient seeks treatment for alcoholism as part of their overall treatment plan.
Finding the correct course of treatment for alcoholism is not always easy. The patient must understand and be willing to treat their abuse of alcohol in order for treatment to be successful. The connection between the heart disease and the alcoholism must be clear to the patient for them to understand the ramifications of their continued drinking. While the heart disease may never be able to be reversed its progress can be slowed or stopped.
Many alcoholics fail to see the correlation 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 usually guilty of this denial as well. Many families will cover up for a loved ones drinking so that they do not feel any ill effects from their disease. This must stop in every case but most especially in the case of alcoholic heart disease.
The patient is suffering from two diseases and both must be treated successfully for the patient to survive. Families must understand that they are not helping the alcoholic by covering up their problems and allowing them to drink uncontrollably. It will be necessary for every member of a family to participate in their loved ones recovery. By participation it may mean that family members will no longer cover up drinking and not allow the alcoholic to lie about their drinking. Facing their responsibilities is the best medicine a family can provide to the alcoholic.
While alcohol may have caused the heart disease the patient is suffering from it does not have to continue to add to further deterioration. Heart disease that is caused by excessive and chronic drinking is a wake up call to the alcoholic. It is a message from the body that their continued abuse must stop. They must heed the warnings that their body is telling them before it is too late.