Skip to Content
Home > Wellness Resources > Health Library > Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy
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, leading to heart
failure. Alcohol in excessive quantities has a directly toxic effect on heart
Symptoms are the result of heart failure and 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 heart failure worse.
Treatment also often includes standard treatment for heart failure, such as
lifestyle changes and medicines.
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, FACC - Cardiology, ElectrophysiologyMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerGeorge Philippides, MD - Cardiology
Current as ofJanuary 27, 2016
Current as of:
January 27, 2016
Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & George Philippides, MD - Cardiology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.