Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Incidence Symptoms Evaluation Treatment drugs low sodium diet questions for doctor specialist Home Care diet lifestyle self-monitoring BP checks pulse checks taking control warning signs Prevention Complications Underlying Cause Anatomy

Weak Heart due to Alcoholism Treatment

There is no cure for alcoholic cardiomyopathy, but treatment can control symptoms and reduce the chance that the illness might worsen. Treatment depends on the severity of the heart damage, the blood pressure readings, and the severity of the symptoms. There are different classes of medication that are used to help control congestive heart failure. A person with alcoholic cardiomyopathy must be monitored carefully, and medication must be adjusted to control symptoms.

Treatment options for congestive heart failure include restricting the amount of fluid in the diet and the following classes of medication: nitroglycerin, diuretics, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, aspirin, and potassium supplements. In severe cases, additional treatment may include cardiac surgery, a heart pacemaker, and kidney dialysis. Lifestyle changes include stopping smoking, weight loss for obesity, an exercise program, and a heart-healthy diet that is low in salt, fat, and cholesterol.

General treatment for alcoholic cardiomyopathy include:

Medications for alcoholic cardiomyopathy include:

Weak Heart due to Alcoholism Drugs

Medications for alcoholic cardiomyopathy include:

Weak Heart due to Alcoholism Low Sodium Diet

A person with alcoholic cardiomyopathy may benefit from a low sodium diet.

Increased salt leads to fluid retention and subsequent heart failure in some people with heart disease. Many heart patients will benefit by placement on a diet, which limits their sodium intake to no more than 2 grams of sodium per day. In some cases, restricting fluid intake can also be beneficial.

Tips on how to reduce your salt consumption:

  • Airlines will provide low sodium meals with a 24-hour notice.
  • Avoid eating fast foods.
  • Become compulsory label reader and purchase products that are low in salt.
  • Limit and eventually stop using salt and high sodium seasonings in cooking. Experiment with alternative flavorings such as herbs, spices, fruit juices, vinegar, and wines.
  • Limit and reduce your consumption of salty foods such as pickles, cured meats, salted snacks, and canned soups. Use more fresh products.
  • Look into the wide variety of unsalted food products that are currently on the market.
  • Reduce the amount of high sodium seasonings you use. These include soy sauce, steak sauce, garlic and onion salt, and monosodium glutamate.
  • Reduce the amount of salt you use at the table. Start by cutting the amount you add in half, and eventually remove the saltshaker from the table. Remember, 1 teaspoon of salt equals approximately 2000 mg of sodium.
  • When you are eating out, ask that you order be prepared without added salt.

Weak Heart due to Alcoholism Questions For Doctor

The following are some important questions to ask before and after the treatment of alcoholic cardiomyopathy.

Questions to ask before treatment:

  • What are my treatment options?
    • Is surgery an option for me?
  • What are the risks associated with treatment?
  • Do I need to stay in the hospital?
    • How long will I be in the hospital?
  • What are the complications I should watch for?
  • How long will I be on medication?
  • What are the potential side effects of my medication?
  • Does my medication interact with nonprescription medicines or supplements?
  • Should I take my medication with food?

Questions to ask after treatment:
  • Do I need to change my diet?
  • Are there any medications or supplements I should avoid?
  • When can I resume my normal activities?
  • When can I return to work?
  • Do I need a special exercise program?
  • Will I need physical therapy?
  • Will I need occupational therapy?
  • What else can I do to reduce my risk for having heart failure again?
  • How often will I need to see my doctor for checkups?
  • What local support and other resources are available?

Weak Heart due to Alcoholism Specialist

Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat alcoholic cardiomyopathy:

Continue to Weak Heart due to Alcoholism Home Care

Last Updated: Jun 3, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Weak Heart due to Alcoholism References
  1. Demakis JG, Proskey A, Rahimtoola SH, et al: The natural course of alcoholic cardiomyopathy. Ann Intern Med 1974 Mar; 80(3): 293-7. [4273902]
  2. Estruch R, Fernandez-Sola J, Sacanella E, et al: Relationship between cardiomyopathy and liver disease in chronic alcohol abuse. Hepatology 1995 Aug; 22(2): 532-8. [7635421]
  3. Fernandez-Sola J, Estruch R, Nicolas JM, et al: Comparison of alcoholic cardiomyopathy in women versus men. Am J Cardiol 1997 Aug 15; 80(4): 481-5. [9285662]
  4. Lee WK, Regan TJ. Alcoholic cardiomyopathy: is it dose-dependent? Congest Heart Fail. 2002 Nov-Dec;8(6):303-6. [12461319]
  5. McKenna CJ, Codd MB, McCann HA, Sugrue DD: Alcohol consumption and idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy: a case control study. Am Heart J 1998 May; 135: 833-7. [9588413]
  6. Patel VB, Why HJ, Richardson PJ, Preedy VR: The effects of alcohol on the heart. Adverse Drug React Toxicol Rev 1997 Mar; 16(1): 15-43. [9192055]
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