What is it?

Cardiomyopathy is a progressive disease affecting the heart muscle, In which eventually the heart muscle may fail to pump blood to the rest of the body as well as it should. There are many different types of cardiomyopathy caused by a range of factors, including: ischemic heart disease, certain drugs and toxins including alcohol, genetic factors, autoimmune and other systemic diseases, radiation therapy, myocarditis (inflammation of the heart), and more. The cause may also be unknown.
Cardiomyopathies can lead to an irregular heartbeat, a heart valve problem, heart failure, or other complications.
Main types of cardiomyopathies:
* Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) – occurs when your heart muscle stretches and becomes thinner, and your heart chambers become expanded.
* Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) - occurs when your heart walls become very thickened, sometimes to the point that outflow of blood is obstructed (hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy, HOCM)
* Restrictive cardiomyopathy (RCM) - occurs when the ventricles stiffen and can’t relax enough to fill up with blood.

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Signs & symptoms

Symptoms vary according to the type of cardiomyopathy and severity of the condition. Some cases may have no symptoms at all. When present, symptoms may include:
* general weakness and fatigue
* shortness of breath, particularly during exercise
* lightheadedness and dizziness
* chest pain
* heart palpitations
* fainting attacks
* edema, or swelling, of your feet, ankles, legs or abdomen

Diagnosis

your doctor will perform a full physical exam and ask about your symptoms, medical and family history. Additional tests to help diagnose a cardiomyopathy include:
* ECG – measures the electrical activity of your heart and may show signs of cardiomyopathy.
* Echocardiogram – an ultrasound of the heart that gives information about the size and shape of your heart, its pumping action, function of the valves and more.
* other imaging study of the heart such as MRI
* Genetic testing

Treatment

Heart failure results from impairment of the heart's pumping action. Commonly this is related to heart muscle damage that cannot be repaired. However, There are several treatments available to keep the condition under control relieve the symptoms. These may include:
* medications to control blood pressure and reduce the strain on your heart such as Beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors, diuretics to help you get rid of excess fluid and more.
* Behavioral changes such as fluid restriction and a low-salt diet.
* Surgically implanted devices such as CRT (cardiac resynchronization therapy - a device that coordinates the function of the left and right ventricles) and defibrillators as needed.
* ventricular assist devices (VADs) or a heart transplant for severe heart failure – considered as a last resort

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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