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Alcoholic cardiomyopathy

  • Definition

    Alcoholic cardiomyopathy is a disorder in which excessive, habitual use of alcohol weakens the heart muscle so that it cannot pump blood efficiently.

    Alternative Names

    Cardiomyopathy - alcoholic

    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    Drinking alcohol in large quantities has a toxic effect on heart muscle cells. Alcoholic cardiomyopathy is a form of dilated cardiomyopathy caused by habitual alcohol abuse.

    Alcoholic cardiomyopathy causes the weakened heart muscle to pump inefficiently, leading to heart failure. In severe cases, the lack of blood flow affects all parts of the body, damaging multiple tissues and organs.

    The disorder is most commonly seen in men ages 35-55 years old, but it may develop in anyone who consumes too much alcohol over a long period of time. Alcoholic cardiomyopathy may be identified as "idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy," if the person's drinking history is not known.