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Know everything about Cardiomyopathy

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Know everything about Cardiomyopathy

Cardiac Sciences | Posted on 02/02/2023 by



Are you experiencing heart palpitations or shortness of breath? If yes, then it can indicate a heart-related condition known as cardiomyopathy. This condition can affect your heart muscle severely. It makes the heart incapable of pumping sufficient blood throughout your body efficiently. Cardiomyopathy if left untreated can get worse over time so make sure to get the treatment as it can slow down the progression and enhance your quality of life.

In this blog, we will take a closer look at the condition and include everything that you must know about cardiomyopathy. The write-up is only for general informational purposes and doesn’t construe the doctor’s consultation.

What is cardiomyopathy?

Cardiomyopathy is a heart condition affecting the myocardium (heart muscle). The condition leads to making your heart muscle stiff, and thickened, and causes scar tissue. As a consequence, your heart loses the ability to pump blood to the rest of the body as needed. Over time, the heart can deteriorate causing heart failure. On-time treatment can help, but in some cases, there might be a need for heart transplantation.

Types of cardiomyopathy

There are different types of cardiomyopathy:

  • Diluted cardiomyopathy- It is the most common type of cardiomyopathy which can be inherited or an outcome of coronary artery disease. It occurs when there is an enlargement in the heart muscle and the heart is weak to pump sufficient blood effectively
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy-This type occurs when there is a thickness in the heart walls and avert blood from flowing through your heart. It enhances the risk of electrical issues. Diabetes, ageing, and high blood pressure are some of the causes of this type.
  • Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia- This type is very rare, but is the primary cause of sudden deaths in athletes. In this type, irregular heart rhythms and anomalies in the right ventricle functions
  • Restrictive cardiomyopathy- It occurs when there is stiffness in the ventricles and cannot ease filling up with blood. The probable causes are heart scarring, heart disease, and cardiac amyloid.

How can you identify the symptoms of cardiomyopathy?

First, know that all types of cardiomyopathy are similar and in every case, the heart loses the efficiency to pump blood to the organs of the body. As a result, there are symptoms you can observe and they are:

  • Severe fatigue
  • General weakness
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • High blood pressure
  • Chest pain
  • Heart palpitations
  • A bloated abdomen
  • Coughing
  • Swelling in the feet, ankles, legs, and other body parts

Are there any risk factors for cardiomyopathy?

Yes, there are many factors affecting individuals of all ages. The risk factors of cardiomyopathy are:

  • Family histories such as heart failure or sudden cardiac arrest
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attack
  • Infections causing heart inflammation
  • Covid-19 infection
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart valve disorders
  • Alcohol use
  • Illegal drug abuse
  • Thyroid
  • Amyloidosis
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Connective tissue disorder
  • Cancer medications

How to suspect cardiomyopathy?

Your doctor or cardiologist will follow certain constituents into your diagnosis. It includes:

  • Physical evaluation
  • Diagnostic tests and procedures
  • Personal clinical history
  • Family clinical history

The doctor will also include some diagnostic tests and procedures:

  • Blood tests- It delivers information about your heart and assists in ruling out other conditions
  • Chest X-ray- It will assist the doctor to view your heart’s structure and the size
  • Electrocardiogram- This test is ordered for assessing the electrical activity of your heart
  • Stress test- It benefits in evaluating the heart functionality while you are exercising
  • Echocardiogram- This test involves the use of sound waves for creating live images of the heart
  • Heart MRI- It comprises using magnets and radio waves to gather heart images and coronary blood vessels

The doctor might also recommend diagnostic procedures to confirm cardiomyopathy, primarily if you are planning for surgery. These procedures are cardiac catheterization, coronary angiography, and myocardial biopsy.

How is cardiomyopathy treated?

The objective of treatment is to help the heart function efficiently and prevent more damage. The cardiomyopathy treatment differs on how damaged your heart is because of cardiomyopathy and the causing symptoms. Some individuals don’t need treatment until the system appears. You must know that cardiomyopathy cannot be cured or reversed, but you can manage it with the following treatment options.

  • Medications- Your doctor will recommend medications to treat other conditions causing cardiomyopathy. It includes managing high blood pressure, preventing water retention, normal heart rhythm, and reducing inflammation
  • Surgically implanted devices such as defibrillators and pacemakers are also recommended in some cases depending on the symptoms
  • Heart-healthy lifestyle changes- Make sure to include this as guided by the doctor. Aim to maintain a healthy weight and avoid bad habits like smoking, alcohol, etc. Follow a balanced and nutritious diet and manage stress. Include exercise in your daily for at least 30 minutes a day
  • Surgery- If symptoms are serious and medications aren’t working efficiently, then valve surgery or bypass surgery is recommended as a treatment option. Septal myectomy- a less common procedure is also suggested. It helps in improving the blood flow through the heart by removing some heart tissues.
  • The last treatment option is a heart transplant if the condition is getting worse over time and medications aren’t working well.

Conclusion

Cardiomyopathy is a life-threatening condition and it is crucial to be aware of the symptoms. This is primarily important for people with conditions like coronary artery disease and other heart problems. Cardiomyopathy can cause heart failure or stroke if left untreated. So, if you are diagnosed with this condition, make sure to visit a cardiologist immediately. The doctor will recommend treatment that’s right for you and with regular medications, you can prevent the worsening of this condition.

FAQs

How does cardiomyopathy affect the body?

As the condition deteriorates, you can experience heart issues like heart failure, heart valve problems comprising heart valve disease, and arrhythmia.

Can I live a normal life with cardiomyopathy?

Yes, you can certainly live a normal life with cardiomyopathy if you follow the doctor’s instructions diligently. Make lifestyle changes as guided and if surgery is required, don’t delay it.