Yesterday we got a sad phone call from a dear friend. Her son, in his 40’s, is in the hospital with a prognosis of death very soon. The doctor has been honest with the family. There is nothing more than can be done short of a heart transplant. He is on the list for a heart transplant, but it is doubtful he will live long enough.
I am not aware of this man’s exact diagnosis, but his heart has been weakening for some time. His heart function is now 20% of capacity. This loss of pumping capacity compromises most body functions. Blood pressure falls. The lungs can not oxygenate the blood sufficiently, kidneys do not work efficiently. The limbs swell painfully from retained fluid.
A discussions of alcohol related heart diseases can be found on line. Please read this to see if you are at risk.
It is thought this patient’s main problem is that he has been a heavy drinker for years. His doctors have been warning him for years that he needs to stop drinking, but he has not. While alcohol does not directly damage everyone’s heart. Drinking more than small amounts of alcohol contributes to many heart diseases including strokes and heart attacks. In the case of alcoholic cardiomyopathy, alcohol abuse has been established as a cause. This article defines heavy drinking for men as in excess of 4 drinks per day or 14 drinks per week. For women it is in excess of 3 drinks per day or 7 per week. There is no cure.
Those who wish to drink alcoholic beverages are advised to drink only in moderation. Moderation is defined as two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. (A drink is one 12 oz. beer, 4 oz. of wine, 1.5 oz. of 80-proof spirits, or 1 oz. of 100-proof spirits.) Do not think that simply reducing consumption puts you into the moderation category.
We are praying for the son of our friend, because we know his death will break her heart.
As an author, I have just finished the rough draft of a novel about illegal human organ sales with a provisional title of Illicit Harvest. The focus of the story is a very rich man who has abused alcohol to the point of having alcoholic cardiomyopathy. His time has a very short time to live so he buys a new heart on the black market. My research has found that cardiomyopathy is a very serious disease. While it makes for an exciting medical thriller, I feel sad for anyone who suffers from this disease.
If you drink, please review your drinking habits. It may be time for you to reduce your consumption. If you can get close to or below the moderate level, you may save your health and save your relatives from suffering grief.
Reynold Conger is an author. It will probably be another 9 to 12 months before Illicit Harvest is released. In the meantime, visit ReynoldConger.com to learn about his other books. Books are available from common online book sellers. ReynoldConger.com has a book store through which you can order any of Reynold’s physical books. All books purchased from Reynold will be autographed.