What is cardiomyopathy?
Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the cardiac muscle (myocardium). In most cases, the heart muscle weakens and is incapable of pumping blood effectively to the rest of the body. There are numerous types of cardiomyopathy caused by many factors such as coronary artery disease and certain medications. All of these factors can lead to irregular heartbeat, heart failure, heart valve problems, and other problems.
Medical treatment as well as follow-up care are important. Heart failure and other complications can be prevented.
What are the types of cardiomyopathy?
There are four main categories for cardiomyopathy.
Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM)
The DCM is the most frequently used form and occurs when the heart muscle is too weak for efficient blood pumping. Muscles are stretching and getting weaker. This increases the size of your heart chambers.
It is also referred to as the enlarged heart. It may be inherited, or it may be caused by coronary artery disease (CAD).
It is assumed that hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is genetic. This occurs when the walls of the heart thicken and prevent blood to circulate through the heart. This is a common type of cardiomyopathic disorder. This may also be caused by long-term hypertension or aging. Diabetes or thyroid illness may also result in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. In other cases, it is not known what caused it.
Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD)
Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD) is an extremely rare form of cardiomyopathy, but it is the most common cause of sudden death among young athletes. In this type of genetic cardiomyopathy, the right ventricular muscles are replaced with adipose and extra-fibrous tissues. This leads to irregular heartbeat.
Restrictive cardiomyopathy is the most uncommon form. It occurs when the ventricular muscles harden and cannot relax normally. Heart scarring, which frequently occurs after a cardiac graft, can be a cause. This can also happen due to heart disease.
Most of the following cardiomyopathies belong to one of the 4 previous classifications, But every one of them has different causes or complications.
Peripartum cardiomyopathy happens during and after pregnancy. This rare type happens when the heart weakens within five months of delivery or during the last month of pregnancy. When this occurs following childbirth, it is sometimes called post-partum cardiomyopathy. It’s a type of dilated cardiomyopathy, and it’s a potentially lethal illness. The cause is unknown.
Alcoholic cardiomyopathy occurs because of drinking too much alcohol for a long time, which may weaken your heart so that it can no longer pump blood effectively. then heart becomes enlarged. It is another form of dilated cardiomyopathy.
Ischemic cardiomyopathy occurs when your heart is unable to pump blood to the rest of your body because of coronary artery disease. The blood vessels in the cardiac muscle become constricted and clogged. This results in a lack of oxygen in the cardiac muscle of . Ischemic cardiomyopathy is a common cause of cardiac failure. On the other hand, nonischemic cardiomyopathy is any form that is not associated with CAD.
Noncompaction cardiomyopathy, also known as spongiform cardiomyopathy, is a rare condition that occurs at the time of birth. It occurs as a result of abnormal development of the heart muscle within the uterus. Diagnosis can take place at any stage of life.
When cardiomyopathy is present in a child, it is called pediatric cardiomyopathy.
If you have idiopathic cardiomyopathy, it means you don’t have a known cause.
Who is at risk for cardiomyopathy?
Cardiomyopathy may affect persons of any age. The most important risk factors include:
- a family history of cardiomyopathy, sudden heart attack, or heart failure.
- coronary heart disease (CAD)
- severe obesity
- amyloidosis (unusual protein diposed in many tissues or organs such as the heart)
Research indicates that HIV and its treatments, diet and lifestyle factors may also increase the risk of cardiomyopathy. HIV may increase your risk of heart failure and enlarged cardiomyopathy, among others. If you have HIV, check with your doctor about regular tests to verify your heart condition. You also have to follow a healthy diet for the heart and regular exercise program.
What are the symptoms of cardiomyopathy?
Symptoms of any type of cardiomyopathy may be similar. In either case, the heart cannot effectively pump blood to the body’s tissues and organs. Symptoms may include:
- chest pain
- heart palpitations (abnormal heart rate.)
- fainting attacks
- general weakness & tiredness.
- dyspnea (shortness of breath) especially during the exercise.
- lightheadedness and dizziness
- edema, or swelling, to the feet, ankles and legs.
What is the treatment for cardiomyopathy?
Treatment differs according to the severity of heart damage from cardiomyopathy and its symptoms.
Some people may not need to be treated before symptoms develop. Other people who are starting to experience shortness of breath or chest pain may require lifestyle changes or medication.
You cannot reverse or treat cardiomyopathy, but you can manage it with some of the following options:
- lifestyle changes to keep the heart healthy.
- surgical implantable devices, such as pacemakers and defibrillators.
- heart transplantation, which is viewed as a last option.
medicines, including those used for the treatment of hypertention, prevent water retention, keeps the heart rhythm normal with regular beats, prevents blood clots and reduces inflammation.
The purpose of the treatment is to improve your cardiac effectiveness and prevention or protection against further damage and loss of function.
Cardiomyopathy can be life-threatening and can shorten your life expectancy if serious damage happens sooner. The disease is also progressive, meaning that it may worsen with time. Treatments can make your life longer. They can do this by reducing the worsening state of your heart or by providing technologies to keep the heart running smoothly.
People with heart disease are expected to make a number of lifestyle changes to improve heart health. This may involve:
- keep your weight healthy.
- healthy nutrition.
- limit caffeine consumption.
- sleep well.
- managing stress
- quitting smoking
- control the consumption of alcohol.
- get the support of their family, friends and physician.
One of the greatest challenges is to have a regular exercise program. Exercise may be very tiring for someone with a damaged heart. Nevertheless, exercise is very important to maintain a healthy weight and extend the effectiveness of the heart. It is important to talk to your doctor and follow the regular exercise program, which is not too difficult, but that allows you to move every day.
The type of exercise you are most comfortable with will depend on the type of cardiomyopathy you have. Your doctor will help you decide on a suitable exercise routine, and they will tell you the safe signs to monitor during exercise.