Published: May 27, 2018 11:38:28
Even moderate alcohol consumption can reduce the condition of heart failure – Patients with a flawed version of a gene called titin, has found new research. Titin is crucial for maintaining the elasticity of the heart muscle. However, a defective version of the gene can cause dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) – a type of heart failure in which the left ventricle becomes weak, reducing the ability to pump blood. "Our research strongly suggests that alcohol and genetics interact – and genetic predisposition and alcohol consumption together can lead to heart failure," said co-author James Ware of the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London.
For In the first part of the study, the team analyzed 141 patients with some form of heart failure called Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy (ACM) – a form of heart failure that is triggered by long-term alcohol intake because more than 70 units a week are consumed seven bottles of wine) for five or more years. The team found that the defective titin gene could also play a role in the disease.
The results published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology showed that 13.5 percent of ACM patients carried the mutation – much higher than the proportion of people carrying them in the general population.
Ware stated that the condition is not simply the result of alcohol poisoning, but is due to a genetic predisposition and can therefore endanger other family members as well. He added that relatives of patients with ACM should receive assessment and heart scans to see if they unknowingly carry the faulty gene.
In the second part, the team analyzed 716 patients with dilated cardiomyopathy – a condition that causes the heart muscle to become stretched and thin. The team found that even in patients whose DCM was caused by the defective titin gene, even moderately increased alcohol intake (defined as drinking above the recommended weekly limit of 14 units) affected the pumping power of the heart. "Alcohol and the heart have a complicated relationship, and while moderate values may have cardiovascular benefits, too much can cause heart problems, and this research suggests that in people with titin heart failure, alcohol can worsen the condition," said study author Paul Barton of the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial.
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