Cardiomyopathy is a disease that weakens and enlarges your heart muscle. Cardiomyopathy makes it harder for your heart to pump blood and deliver it to the rest of your body which can lead to heart failure.
Types of Cardiomyopathy
In this disorder, the pumping ability of your heart's main pumping chamber - the left ventricle - becomes less forceful. The left ventricle becomes enlarged (dilated) and can't effectively pump blood out of the heart.
This type of cardiomyopathy involves abnormal growth or thickening of your heart muscle, particularly affecting the muscle of your heart's main pumping chamber. As thickening occurs, the heart tends to stiffen and the size of the pumping chamber may shrink, interfering with your heart's ability to deliver blood to your body.
The heart muscle in people with restrictive cardiomyopathy becomes rigid and less elastic, meaning the heart can't properly expand and fill with blood between heartbeats.
Some people who develop cardiomyopathy have no signs and symptoms during the early stages of the disease. But as the condition advances, signs and symptoms usually appear. Cardiomyopathy symptoms may include:
- Bloating of the abdomen due to fluid buildup
- Dizziness, lightheadedness and fainting
- Irregular heartbeats that feel rapid
- Swelling of the legs, ankles and feet
Your doctor will conduct a physical examination, take a personal and family medical history, and ask when your symptoms occur. If your doctor thinks you have cardiomyopathy, you may need to undergo several tests to confirm the diagnosis. These tests may include:
Treatment & Prevention
The overall goals of treatment for cardiomyopathy are to manage your signs and symptoms, prevent your condition from worsening, and reduce your risk of complications. Treatment varies by which of the major types of cardiomyopathy you have. Surgical treatment may include:
- Heart Transplant
- Pacemaker and Defibrillator
In many cases, you can not prevent cardiomyopathy. Let your doctor know if you have a family history of the condition. If cardiomyopathy is diagnosed early, treatments may prevent the disease from worsening.