Cardiomyopathy heart muscle disease means your heart is unable to pump an adequate supply of blood around the body.
Cardiomyopathy Heart Muscle Disease
Cardiomyopathy refers to diseases of the heart muscle where the heart muscle becomes enlarged, thick or rigid. As the condition worsens, the heart becomes weaker and less able to pump blood through the body and maintain a regular electrical rhythm. Other than that, a weakened heart also can cause other complications, such as heart valve problems. In turn, heart failure can cause fluid to build up in the lungs, ankles, feet, legs, or abdomen.
Besides, this disease is making your heart not work correctly, you may get symptoms like breathlessness, tiredness, and swelling in your legs and abdomen. Some people live long, healthy lives with cardiomyopathy. Some people don’t even realize they have it.
Cardiomyopathy causes and factors
Cardiomyopathy can have many causes. It may be caused by:
- Long-term high blood pressure
- Heart tissue damage from a heart attack
- Chronic rapid heart rate
- Heart valve problems
- Metabolic disorders, such as obesity, thyroid disease or diabetes
- Nutritional deficiencies of essential vitamins or minerals, such as thiamin
- Pregnancy complications
- Drinking too much alcohol over many years
- Use of cocaine, amphetamines or anabolic steroids
- Use of some chemotherapy drugs and radiation to treat cancer
- Certain infections, especially those that inflame the heart
- Iron buildup in your heart muscle
- A disorder that causes the buildup of abnormal proteins
- Connective tissue disorders
Major risk factors for cardiomyopathy
People of all ages and races can have cardiomyopathy. However, certain types of the disease are more common in certain groups. Certain diseases, conditions, or factors can raise your risk for cardiomyopathy. Major risk factors include:
- A family history of cardiomyopathy, heart failure, or sudden cardiac arrest
- A disease or condition that can lead to Cardiomyopathy, such as coronary heart disease, heart attack, or a viral infection that inflames the heart muscle
- Diabetes or other metabolic diseases, or severe obesity
- Diseases that can damage the heart, such as hemochromatosis, sarcoidosis, or amyloidosis
- Long-term alcoholism
- Long-term high blood pressure
Cardiomyopathy can be acquired or inherited
“Acquired” means you are not carrying it since birth with the disease, but you receive it due to another illness, shape, or factor. Next, “inherited” means your parents passed the gene for the disease on to you. Many times, the cause of Cardiomyopathy isn’t known.
There is Cardiomyopathy heart muscle disease like heart attacks, high blood pressure, infections, and other conditions can all cause cardiomyopathy. Treatment might involve medicines, surgery, other medical procedures, and lifestyle changes.
Signs and symptoms tend to get worse unless treated. In some people, the condition worsens quickly; in others, it might not worsen for a long time. There might be no signs or symptoms in the early stages of cardiomyopathy. But as the condition advances, signs and symptoms usually appear, including:
- Breathlessness with exertion or even at rest
- Swelling of the legs, ankles and feet
- Bloating of the abdomen due to fluid buildup
- Coughing while lying down
- Heartbeats that feel rapid, pounding or fluttering
- Chest discomfort or pressure
- Dizziness, lightheadedness and fainting
Treatment depends on the type of the disease. The main goals are to:
- Control symptoms
- Prevent it from getting worse
- Reduce complications of cardiomyopathy
- Manage conditions that contribute to cardiomyopathy
Treatment varies depending on how damaged your heart is due to cardiomyopathy and the resulting symptoms. Some people may not require treatment until symptoms appear. Others who are beginning to struggle with breathlessness or chest pain may need to make some lifestyle adjustments or take medications. You can control it with some of the following options:
- Heart-healthy lifestyle changes
- Medications, including those used to treat high blood pressure, prevent water retention, keep the heart beating with a normal rhythm, prevent blood clots, and reduce inflammation.
Heart-healthy lifestyle changes
- Be smoke-free
- Limit alcohol: Alcohol can damage your heart
- Eat less salt because salt causes your body to retain fluid, which can build up and put more strain on your heart.
- Do regular light to moderate intensity physical activity:
- Try to do some type of physical activity, such as going for a walk, cycling, lifting light weights and stretching, every day
- Do what you can without getting breathless or overtired. You should be able to talk easily while doing physical activity
- Talk to your doctor about the type and level of physical activity that is suitable for you. Avoid strenuous activities unless your doctor has approved them
Many medications are used to treat cardiomyopathy. Your doctor may prescribe medications to:
- Lower your blood pressure
- Slow your heart rate. Beta blockers and calcium channel blockers are used to lower blood pressure
- Keep your heart beating with a normal rhythm
- Remove excess fluid and sodium from your body. Diuretics, or “water pills,” are an example of a medicine that helps remove excess fluid and sodium from the body
- Prevent blood clots from forming. Anticoagulants, or “blood thinners,” are an example of a medicine that prevents blood clots
- Reduce inflammation
Surgery for Cardiomyopathy
Several types of surgery are used to treat cardiomyopathy. They include septal myectomy, implanted devices to help the heart work better and heart transplant.y
Septal Myectomy –
Septal myectomy is open-heart surgery. This surgery generally is used for younger patients and for people whose medicines aren’t working well. A surgeon removes part of the thickened septum that’s bulging into the left ventricle. This improves blood flow through the heart and out to the body.y
Surgically Implanted Devices –
Surgeons can place several types of devices in the heart to help it work better. One example is a pacemaker, a small device that’s placed under the skin of your chest or abdomen to help control arrhythmias. It uses electrical pulses to prompt the heart to beat at a normal rate.y
Heart Transplant –
This is a surgery to replace a person’s diseased heart with a healthy heart from a deceased donor. A heart transplant is a last resort treatment for people who have end-stage heart failure. “End-stage” means the condition has become so severe that all treatments, other than the heart transplant, have failed.y
Nonsurgical Procedure –
Doctors may use a nonsurgical procedure called alcohol septal ablation to treat cardiomyopathy. Your doctor injects ethanol through a tube into the small artery that supplies blood to the thickened area of heart muscle. The alcohol kills cells, and the thickened tissue shrinks to a more normal size. This allows blood to flow freely through the ventricle, which improves symptoms.
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