View Full Version : Drinking alcohol and HCM...
04-07-2004, 07:42 PM
I'm a new poster on the board, just found it today, and I have want to get some opinions from everyone out there about drinking alcohol when you have been diagnosed with HCM. I'm a college student at Michigan State University and am at the bar around 1-3 nights a week and always having more than a few drinks. I have never really been told by my cardiologist that alcohol could have negative effects on my heart, he's only asked me if I smoke or do other illegal drugs which I don't do either. My situation is that I was diagnosed at the age of 10 and had a myectomy at 16 and presently he says that my heart is looking great. I'm going to talk to him about this next appointment, but that's over 10 months away. All I wanted to know was if anyone had some opinions on the situation or if they have quit drinking completely due to HCM. Thanks a lot for all the support.
04-07-2004, 10:07 PM
I'd stay away from alcohol. First of all it dehydrates you which could cause complications. When I have a drink I pay for it. Sarah can tell you a really interesting story about alcohol as well.
04-07-2004, 10:21 PM
Please check past threads on the subject of alcohol and HCM. It is certainly not recommended! You do not mention what medications you are taking.
I guess college and drinking must go hand in hand; but, the risks you take could have unfavorable results. Think twice about that next drink, then think again.
04-07-2004, 11:31 PM
The first time I went into atrial fibrillation was because I had 1/4 of a glass of sangria. My brother's first afib was after a beer. One. My brother and I are now in afib permanently and his right atrium is 3x larger than normal. He is 30.
Everyone is different, but alcohol is definitely going to increase your palpitations and possibly cause serious ones. Dehydration is the worst thing you can do for HCM besides play basketball (and hard drugs).
You may want to learn to love non-alcoholic beer.
Good for you for wanting to take care of yourself!
I know not drinking is a hard thing to do, especially when you are in collega. And as you will see a lot of times here, everybody is a little different. You will have to find ways to make things work for your self.
In the drinking arena, I have found that if I drink a full glass of water with every glass of beer I'm doing Ok.
Hydration is the key for me, if I don't stay hydrated I will pay for it.
But again, everybody is different and will react different to alcohol. (as you see in this thread).
ICD 08/03 - Myectomy 10/03
04-08-2004, 09:44 AM
I know you are having fun now and you feel good but you could be doing damage to yourself with that level of drinking.
As stated above alcohol is a vasodilator (it open your viens), this leads to dehydration, dehydrateion can lead to arrythmias, obstruction and/or increased symptoms.
As you can see by postings above some people can not have even a little bit of alcohol before symptoms kick in, others do not have symptoms at the time they are drinking. We do not know enough about the long term effects of drinking in HCM.
When I was younger I could have a few drinks with no problem - as I got older I would have SEVERE symptoms with the smallest amount.
Please cut back on the drinking or at least between drinks have a glass of water (heck it will cut your bar tab way down!) :wink:
Take care and I am glad you found us!
04-08-2004, 11:56 PM
Thanks a lot for responding everybody. I feel like I really have a serious decision on my hands. I was also so happy to have found this place. I've never heard anyone talk about what it was like living with HCM. It really made my day.
04-09-2004, 08:38 AM
WE understand. WE live with this everyday and KNOW what it is like to be alone out there with no one to "compair notes with".
Feel free to ask ANY questions you want...WE are happy to help!
05-02-2004, 08:07 PM
Good evening to everyone! :D
Pikejord brings up a very interesting situation. I was diagnosed at 17 with a "heart murmer". Which explaines why I could never run track in high school...I took an "F" in Gym. :wink:
When I turned 21 I did what was expected....I was a weekend bar fly. I did not have a Cardiologist then. My doctor never told me not to drink alcohol because of my condition. Well....I turned 23 and just stopped drinking. Not for any real reason, just because I felt it time.
I have a few questions now if no one minds....Is drinking a glass of wine dangerous? Or drinking a beer or mixed drink? I don't mean to the point where you can't see straight....I just mean one or two drinks?
My mom had a pace maker put in last year and her doctor told her it was okay to have a glass of wine at night with dinner?
Is it all alcohol or is it when it's abused?
My situation got worst for me 5 years ago, and my Cardiologist told me no alcohol at all....ever. I never questioned it because I don't drink...but this got me wondering....is it due to the medication most people take when they have HCM? Or is it because it's just safer for those of us with it? I hope I don't sound silly here....thanks for being patient.
Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.
05-02-2004, 09:33 PM
I had one cardiologist tell me one glass of wine or one beer would be OK with dinner – but wine was better. Another cardiologist told me to totally abstain because of the drugs I was on – and this was years before I was diagnosed with HCM.
I did abstain for years but now I will have one or two bottles of non alcoholic beer per year – duly separated by time. There is under 1/10 of one percent alcohol in a bottle, and I figure that’s about as much as I care to cheat. I guess if I were single I would never qualify as a swinger, but then I prefer my wife anyway.
05-02-2004, 10:15 PM
Marlene, HCM varies so much in each of you. Alcohol affects some by causing arrhythmias. In others (everyone to an extent) it dehydrates you. With some people there may be an interaction with the meds they take. I guess the safest answer would be to abstain totally. If you don't want to abstain (general You, not necessarily Marlene only) then I'd have to say sit down with your doctor and talk to him frankly about what you should do.
05-03-2004, 01:40 AM
This is kind of a sensitive issue with HCM, since alcohol plays such an integral part in so many social situations. It's pretty tough to tell a young college student that he can't go out to a frat party or bar and drink with his buddies like the rest of us did (or at least I did). I mean come on... it's perfectly normal behavior, right?
My advice is usually... if you're going to go out and do it anyway, at least make sure you drink as much water as your body can hold while you're doing it. This probably isn't the most effective advice either, since very few people staggering around a frat party at 3:00 in the morning are very interested in finding a bottle of Evian.
Oh well. I guess sometimes ya just gotta keep your fingers crossed and hope for the best :?
05-03-2004, 08:58 AM
there is a real danger to drinking too much water as it depletes your electrolytes. marathon runners have died from too much water.
i say this b/c i don't want someone to think they can get raging drunk as long as they inundate themselves with water --it isn't a magic way of protecting yourself from the damage drinking alcohol can do.
i think it comes down to what your body can handle. since i've abstained for so long, just the tiniest amount has a big effect on me.
college is a great place to learn how to hold a glass of water and still have a good time regardless of what your "friends" think. it weeds out the jerks pretty well, too. the people who care more about what you are drinking than about your well-being will become easy to spot. and what a gift that is!
05-04-2004, 12:44 AM
Sorry folks.. but the "benefit" from drinking even a single glass of red wine is much less than drinking a glass of red grape juice (or better still, eating some red grapes). If it somehow makes anyone feel that they can drink because it helps their heart, they are sadly mistaken... ANY alcohol intake is a bad idea from what I've read (do a google search for HCM and alcohol and you will see). The benefit to the heart from red wine is not from wine at all, it's from the skin of the grapes (some of the magic substance that helps the heart does end up in wine, but not much). The better choice if you REALLY want to help your heart is to skip all alcohol and drink a glass of red grape juice (or eat some grapes). Sorry to take away the justification for having HCM and still choosing to drink... but it's just not smart....
05-04-2004, 02:11 AM
I'm sorry Celtic... which post said that drinking a glass of wine with HCM was good for you? I must have missed that one on this thread. Please point it out to me if you will. Thanks!
05-04-2004, 11:27 AM
My heart doctor told me that because of my medicine, I should drink no more than two beers a day. I use to be a big beer drinker. I asked about N/A beer. His words were "I don't know why you would want to drink that stuff, but you can have as much of that as you want." Now when I go some where I do drink N/A beer, but not to often. So mine was because of my pills and not the IHSS that I have.
This appears to be one of those topics where reasonable minds can differ. I did a quick search and actually found quite a good deal of variation in recommendations regarding HCM and alcohol. Some MDs prohibit any alcohol intake. Some feel that a minimal amount is o.k. Heavy usage (as in college binge drinking) is verboten. My M.D. has, so far, permitted minimal use, so I do have a few beers or glasses of wine per week which I carefully offset with water intake. (No, I do not drink masses a la dead marathon runners. Just enough to balance any dehydration that alcohol can create).
For JP, you need to be careful. First, put a call into your MD to seek advice before your appointment. Second, use sensible judgement (if you feel that you can do so in drinking situations). If you can't be responsible, take yourself out of those situations. The impacts of heavy alcohol use can be devastating. If your doctor o.k.'s moderate use AND you can remain in control, then you can participate in these social events w/ your peers (without ever binge drinking though).
As for the benefits of wine versus grape juice, I cannot vouch. However, there was some research back in 98/99/00 (can't remember exact) in the NEJM that showed moderate beer consumption did reduce strokes and/or heart attacks (again, I can't remember exactly). The wine industry paid for early research showing the benefits of wine. Subsequent research seems to show that many alcohols (not just grape-based) can have some health benefits.
Lastly, let's all remember (as with most HCM-related issues) that the relationship between alcohol and HCM has hardly been touched in published clinical research. From what I can tell, we know very little. What our MDs are going on are, for the most part, well-thought-out hypotheses. That's good enough for me most of the time but not good enough to make any final conclusions.
Edited for stupid error (sorry)
05-04-2004, 09:13 PM
That was a very good post... well thought out and well-written.
The ideal situation for any HCM'er of course is to avoid alcohol entirely. Period. Alcohol in itself, regardless of quantity, has an arrhythmogenic effect on the heart and can have serious consequences. Whether you drink one glass of wine, or an entire bottle of Jack Daniels (as I have), the potential for doing damage to the heart is great.
The point of my own post, however poorly worded it might have been, was simply to say that if you are going to do it anyway, at least make sure you drink plenty of water so that you don't put the additional strain of dehydration on your heart.
05-05-2004, 11:08 PM
I agree on all points. Including the educated hypothesis (aka guess) assumption by MD's due to limited prior data. Thanks for an informative post.
05-06-2004, 09:04 AM
OK.. I need a moment here....
I am amazed everyday at how far so many of you have come in sharing information, thoughts and cautions. This string is a prime example of QUALITY information, ENCOURAGEMENT, and caring.
You are really an amazing group of people.
My moment is over now...
resume normal posting - I have had my moment of pride...
05-06-2004, 10:41 PM
You definetly sound like the HCMA "mom" (and I mean that in a good way). Glad we could give you a "moment" :) Of all the people here, you deserve one.
05-06-2004, 11:17 PM
Yeh... I did kind of feel like the bragging mom but I think you will all forgive that :roll:
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