Many categories of heart disease exist and one of them, cardiomyopathy, affects the heart muscle itself. There are three types of this particular disease dilated, restrictive and hypertrophic and all of them affect the muscle of the heart.
The result is that your heart has a problem efficiently and easily pumping blood so that it can be sent to the rest of your body to provide the nutrients and oxygen it needs. Cardiomyopathy is typically caused by other types of heart disease such as those that affect the heart valves and arteries.
All forms of cardiomyopathy can be treated but the type you have will determine the treatment you receive. In addition, the seriousness of your disease will also play a part in whether you have to get a heart transplant, take medications, have implants surgically inserted to regulate your heart or any or all of the above.
Symptoms of Cardiomyopathy
Early on in the disease, you may not have any symptoms or at least none that are recognizable as such. However, the longer the disease progresses, the more the symptoms will present themselves. You can expect lethargy and fatigue as well as possible fainting and dizziness.
You will have swollen lower extremities like your ankles, feet and legs. Your abdominal area will swell due to bloating and you may also have an irregular heartbeat.
It is important to get treatment for the symptoms as quickly as possible. This will help provide you some relief as well as slow the progression of the cardiomyopathy. Of course, every person is different; you may progress slowly while another patient’s state may decline rapidly.
What Causes Cardiomyopathy?
In many cases, the cause of cardiomyopathy is not clearly known, although some guesses could be made based on your previous health and family history. However, in a small percentage, doctors can pinpoint legitimate factors that contribute to the disease. Some of these factors include:
- Persistent fast heart rate,
- , metabolic disease such as diabetes, problems with the heart valves,
- , pregnancy, long term illegal drug use, alcoholism and even viral infection.
Nutritional deficiencies or excesses can also cause cardiomyopathy. The lack of certain B vitamins, magnesium and other heart healthy minerals can pose a risk. Excessive iron in the blood may build up in the heart, weakening it.
Cardiomyopathy is not a one size fits all kind of heart disease because treatment can be different for each patient. You may require ACE inhibitors or beta blockers to improve the pumping action of your heart.
A specialized pacemaker may be implanted inside your chest to provide tiny shocks should your heart start acting up and even an implantable defibrillator is an option. If your cardiomyopathy disease is dire, a heart transplant may be your only hope and chance at a normal, healthy life.
You likely cannot prevent cardiomyopathy from striking but you certainly can slow it down. With a healthy diet, moderate exercise as prescribed by the doctor and other clean lifestyle choices, you can live quite a while with this heart disease.