Cardiomyopathy – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

What is cardiomyopathy?

Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle( myocardium). In most of the cases, the heart muscle weakens and unable to pump blood efficiently to the rest of the body. There are many different types of cardiomyopathy caused by many factors such as coronary heart disease and certain drugs. These all can cause an irregular heartbeatheart failure, a heart valve problem, or other problems.

Medical treatment and follow-up care are important. They may can prevent heart failure or other complications.

What are the types of cardiomyopathy?

Cardiomyopathy is mainly grouped into four categories.

Dilated cardiomyopathy(DCM)

DCM is the most common form and, occurs when your heart muscle is too weak to pump blood efficiently. The muscles stretch and become weaker. This allows the chambers of your heart to expand.

This is also called as enlarged heart.It can be inherited , or it can be due to coronary artery disease(CAD).

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is thought to be genetic. It occurs when your heart walls thicken and prevent blood flow through your heart. It’s a common type of cardiomyopathy. It can also be caused by long-term hypertention or aging. Diabetes or thyroid disease can also lead to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. There are other instances that the cause is unknown.

Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD)

Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD) is a very rare form of cardiomyopathy, but it’s the major cause of sudden death in young athletes. In this type of genetic cardiomyopathy, muscles of the right ventricle are replaced by fat and extra fibrous tissue. Which causes irregular heart rhythms.

Restrictive cardiomyopathy

Restrictive cardiomyopathy is the least common form. It occurs when the ventricles harden and can’t relax normally. Scarring of the heart, which frequently occurs after a heart transplant, may be a cause. It can also occur because of heart disease.

Other types

Most of the below types of cardiomyopathy belong to one of the previous four classifications, but each has different causes or complications.

Peripartum cardiomyopathy occurs during or after pregnancy. This rare type occurs when the heart weakens within five months of postpartum (delivery) or within the last month of pregnancy. When it occurs after delivery, it’s sometimes called as postpartum cardiomyopathy. This is a type of dilated cardiomyopathy, and it’s a life-threatening condition. There’s no known cause.

Alcoholic cardiomyopathy occurs due to drinking too much alcohol for a long period of time, which can weaken your heart so it can no longer pump blood efficiently. Your heart then becomes enlarged. This is also a form of dilated cardiomyopathy.

Ischemic cardiomyopathy occurs when your heart can no longer pump blood to the rest of your body due to coronary artery disease. Blood vessels to the heart muscle narrow and become blocked. This leads to oxygen deprivation of the heart muscle of . Ischemic cardiomyopathy is a common cause of heart failure. On the other hand, non ischemic cardiomyopathy is any form that is not associated with coronary artery disease.

Noncompaction cardiomyopathy, also called spongiform cardiomyopathy, is a rare disease present at the time of birth. It occurs due to abnormal development of the heart muscle in the uterus. Diagnosis may occur at any stage of life.

When cardiomyopathy affects a child, it’s known as pediatric cardiomyopathy.

If you have idiopathic cardiomyopathy, that means there is no known cause.

Who is at risk for cardiomyopathy?

Cardiomyopathy can affect people of all ages. Major risk factors includes:

  • a family history of cardiomyopathy, sudden cardiac arrest, or heart failure
  • coronary heart disease(CAD)
  • diabetes
  • severe obesity
  • amyloidosis(abnormal protein diposited in many tissues or organs such as heart)

As research says, HIV and it’s treatments,dietary and lifestyle factors can also increase risk of cardiomyopathy. HIV can increase your risk of heart failure and dilated cardiomyopathy, in particular. If you have HIV, consult your doctor about regular tests to check the condition of your heart. You should also follow a healthy diet for your heart and regular exercise program.

What are the symptoms of cardiomyopathy?

The symptoms of all types of cardiomyopathy likely to be similar. In all cases, the heart can’t efficiently pump blood to the tissues and organs of the body. It can lead to symptoms including:

  • general weakness and fatigue
  • dyspnea (shortness of breath) particularly during exertion or exercise
  • lightheadedness and dizziness
  • chest pain
  • heart palpitations(abnormal heart beats)
  • fainting attacks
  • hypertention
  • edema, or swelling, of your feet, ankles, and legs

What is the treatment for cardiomyopathy?

Treatment differ,depending on the severity of damage of your heart because of cardiomyopathy and it’s symptoms.

Some people may not need treatment until symptoms appear. Others who are beginning to suffer from breathlessness or chest pain may need to make some lifestyle changes or take medications.

You can’t reverse or treat cardiomyopathy, but you can control it with some of the given options:

lifestyle changes for healthy heart

surgically implanted devices, such as pacemakers and defibrillators

surgery

heart transplant, which is considered a last option.

medications, including those used to treat hypertention, prevent water retention, maintains normal rythm of heart with regular beating, prevent blood clots, and reduce inflammation.

The goal of treatment is to improve your heart efficiency and prevention or protection from further damage and loss of function.

What is the long-term outlook?

Cardiomyopathy can be fatal and can shorten your life expectancy if severe damage occurs earlier. The disease is also progressive, which means it is liable to get worse over time. Treatments can prolong your life. They can do this by lowering the worsening of your heart’s condition or by providing technologies to maintain proper functioning of heart.

Those with cardiomyopathy should make several lifestyle changes to improve heart health. These may include:

  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • eating healthy diet
  • limiting caffeine intake
  • getting sufficient sleep
  • managing stress
  • quitting smoking
  • limiting alcohol intake
  • getting support from their family, friends, and doctor

One of the biggest challenges is following a regular exercise program. Exercise can be very tiring for a person with a damaged heart. However, exercise is very important for maintaining a healthy weight and prolonging heart’s efficiency. It’s important to talk with your doctor and follow a regular exercise program that’s not too difficult but that gets you moving every day.

The type of exercise that is best for you will depend on the type of cardiomyopathy you have. Your doctor will help you decide a proper exercise routine, and they’ll tell you the cautious signs to watch out for while exercising.

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