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Alcohol-related Stroke?


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mtlieb Find out more about mtlieb
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  • Alcohol-related Stroke?

    Hi All,

    I have been a heavy drinker my entire adult life. We're talking 16 to 20 shots of whiskey in an evening, three or four nights a week. For as long as i can remember (even back to my twenties), and long before i was ever diagnosed with HCM, when i would drink this much i'd always wake up a bunch of times that night gasping for air (as if i hadn't been breathing for a while) and my heart would be beating wildly. Most of the time my heart would be beating so hard it kept me from falling back to sleep. I was a young healthy guy though (at least in my mind's eye) and always just thought this was a result of drinking too much and never gave it much thought

    But something happened several months ago that scared the heck out of me. I got drunk like i always do, and had the usual wild heartbeat and breathing problems that i have always had. But this time, which by the way was my last, i woke up in the middle of the night and the entire right side of my body was numb. The right side of my face, my right arm, and my right leg, all of it numb as if i had gotten a shot of novacaine. I was laying on my left side. I remember thinking that this is what it must feel like to have a stroke, and it frightened me. But of course at the time, i was drunk, and i hadn't yet been diagnosed with HCM, so i just went back to bed and hoped i'd live through to the morning. Funny how when you're drunk you just hope you wake up in the morning, and not much else. When i awoke the next morning, everything was fine, but it scared me enough not to have another drink since then.

    Is it possible that i might of had some sort of a stroke, or mini-stroke as i have read that people with HCM sometimes do? It wasn't until i was diagnosed with HCM that i loooked back on that episode and became somewhat concerned. Has anyone else experienced anything like this, and if i did in fact suffer some kind of a stroke, would there be any kind of permanent damage from it? Is there any test that might show whether or not i did?

    Thanks much,

    "Some days you're the dog... some days you're the hydrant."

  • #2
    possible - but not likely. I would explain the entire matter to your doctor, an EEG or cat scan or MRI can be done of your brain to look for any damage.
    I am glad to hear the drinking is in your past

    Best wishes,
    Knowledge is power ... Stay informed!
    YOU can make a difference - all you have to do is try!

    Dx age 12 current age 46 and counting!
    lost: 5 family members to HCM (SCD, Stroke, CHF)
    Others diagnosed living with HCM (or gene +) include - daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, sister and many many friends!
    Therapy - ICD (implanted 97, 01, 04 and 11, medication
    Currently not obstructed
    Complications - unnecessary pacemaker and stroke (unrelated to each other)


    • #3


      I've had a stroke and you don't feel numb ---you feel _nothing_ on that side. Zero. It doesn't feel funny or prickly or numb, or asleep, it doesn't even exist.

      So you may have pinched a nerve or something, but definitely describe it to your doctor to make sure you didn't do anything really bad!

      take care,



      • #4
        Lisa and Sarah,

        Thanks for your replies. I was interested in finding out if anyone else has had a similar experience with alcohol and HCM. I've done some reading on the effects of alcohol and dehydration causing arrythmias with HCM, and i have to believe that at least to some degree the numbness was related to my heart. This is certainly something to ask my cardiologist anyway

        By the way Lisa, i finally got some insurance issues out of the way, and i see a cardiologist on Monday for the first time since being diagnosed. Woo hoo! As you know a cardiologist in Montana did the echo and made the diagnosis, but told me he didn't have the expertise with HCM to lay out any sort of treatment options for me. I can't tell you how relieved i am that i won't be flying solo and unmedicated with this anymore

        "Some days you're the dog... some days you're the hydrant."


        • #5
          `Jim, We're all relieved and delighted for you. We'll be waiting to hear how things go with the cardiologist. Linda


          • #6

            Ah, yes, dehydration. I did that, too. My first atrial fib episode (and my brother's) were both alcohol induced. 2 oz sangria and 2 beers, respectively --I was 100 lbs and probably low on water to begin with and he was 12.

            Anyway, both dehydration and alcohol or the alcohol induced dehydration are going to get you some fun rhythm problems.

            Drink lots of water and don't avoid salt (low salt cardiac diets are for high blood pressure people where water is bad). Water is your best friend.

            take care,



            • #7
              After seeing my cardiologist yesterday he does not think that i had a stroke, but he does certainly feel that my little episode was HCM related. We'll know a lot more about what's going on with me once i have my stress test and holter monitor next week

              "Some days you're the dog... some days you're the hydrant."