Cardiomyopathy is termed as a progressive disease that affects the heart muscle – also known as myocardium. Often described as the leading cause of heart failure, especially in younger people, cardiomyopathy causes the heart muscle to get thick, enlarged and affects its ability to pump blood efficiently. It can also cause dangerous & irregular heart rhythms. This condition is only said to affect the heart – the left ventricle or main pumping chamber, in particular. There are four primary types of cardiomyopathy:
Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM): which affects the left ventricle of the heart causing it to enlarge and subsequently weaken over time.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM): thickening of the myocardium or heart muscle cells, which results in the walls of the heart to become abnormally thick.
Restrictive cardiomyopathy (RCM): affects the lower ventricle walls eventually impairing their ability to function effectively by making them rigid and inflexible.
Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy: affecting the right ventricle, this particular variant of cardiomyopathy is usually linked with abnormal heart rhythms and can even result in sudden death.
It’s not unusual for people suffering from cardiomyopathy to never exhibit any signs or symptoms. Moreover, in the early stages of the disease, there’s a distinct possibility of no symptoms showing up. It also needs to be mentioned that the symptoms usually vary depending on the type of cardiomyopathy, the age of the individual, and how severe the condition is. Some of the commonly observed symptoms include:
Causes / Risk Factors
It needs to be mentioned that there is possibly a myriad of risk factors and causes which can lead to cardiomyopathy. In most cases, cardiomyopathy can be segregated into two distinct categories:
Primary Cardiomyopathy – where cardiomyopathy is inherited or the underlying cause cannot be identified.
Secondary Cardiomyopathy – which develops owing to another underlying condition or risk factor.
That being said, some of the risk factors or causes in cardiomyopathy include:
Diagnosis and treatment
To confirm a diagnosis of cardiomyopathy, the concerned doctor will review the patient’s medical history, conduct a physical examination, review the symptoms and accordingly confirm the diagnosis after order a series of diagnostic tests and procedures to analyze the heart’s function. These tests may include:
Although there is no definitive cure for cardiomyopathy, the following treatment options aim to reduce and control the symptoms thus allowing the affected individuals to live long, healthy lives under proper care and supervision:
We are alive because our heart is beating which makes it imperative to incorporate a healthy lifestyle that is good for the heart. Several studies have suggested that what we end up eating and drinking goes a long way in protecting the body against a tonne of heart-related issues. As a matter of fact, up to nearly 70% of all heart diseases can be preventable by making the right food choices. Simple dietary changes can help you keep your heart healthy and functioning optimally at all times. Heart-healthy foods if incorporated in the daily diet, will ascertain that the heart`s health is never compromised.
Although cardiomyopathy is difficult to prevent – especially in cases where there’s an inherited type of cardiomyopathy or where there is a family history of the condition. However, by making certain lifestyle changes, one can reduce the incidence of developing this devastating heart disease.
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