Skip to Content
Home > Health Resources > Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy
View Additional Section Content
Alcoholic cardiomyopathy is caused by long-term alcohol abuse. It is a type of dilated cardiomyopathy. The heart muscle is weakened and cannot pump blood efficiently. If your heart gets weaker, you may develop heart failure. Alcohol in excessive quantities has a directly toxic effect on heart muscle cells.
Symptoms are the result of the weakened heart muscle. Symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, swelling, and cough. Muscular weakness may also be present because of the effect of alcohol on muscles (alcoholic myopathy).
Treatment includes quitting drinking. Quitting drinking often results in improved heart function. Continued alcohol consumption, on the other hand, will continue to make alcoholic cardiomyopathy worse. Treatment includes medicines and lifestyle changes.
Other Works Consulted
Mestroni L, et al. (2011). Dilated cardiomyopathies. In V Fuster et al., eds., Hurst's the Heart, 13th ed., vol. 1, pp. 821-836. New York: McGraw-Hill.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerRakesh K. Pai, MD - Cardiology, ElectrophysiologyMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family MedicineE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerGeorge J. Philippides, MD, FACC - Cardiology
Current as ofDecember 6, 2017
Current as of:
December 6, 2017
Rakesh K. Pai, MD - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & George J. Philippides, MD, FACC - Cardiology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2018 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
2700 Clay Edwards Drive, Ste 240, North Kansas City, MO 64116