Also called: Dilated cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, Myocardiopathy, Restrictive cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy is the name for diseases of the heart muscle. These diseases enlarge your heart muscle or make it thicker and more rigid than normal. In rare cases, scar tissue replaces the muscle tissue.

Some people live long, healthy lives with cardiomyopathy. Some people don't even realize they have it. In others, however, it can make the heart less able to pump blood through the body. This can cause serious complications, including

Heart attacks, high blood pressure, infections, and other diseases can all cause cardiomyopathy. Some types of cardiomyopathy run in families. In many people, however, the cause is unknown. Treatment might involve medicines, surgery, other medical procedures, and lifestyle changes.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Symptoms of Cardiomyopathy

The following features are indicative of Cardiomyopathy:
  • bloating of the abdomen due to fluid buildup
  • breathlessness with exertion or even at rest
  • swelling of the legs, ankles and feet
  • cough while lying down
  • fatigue
  • irregular heartbeats
  • chest pain
  • dizziness
  • lightheadedness
  • fainting
It is possible that Cardiomyopathy shows no physical symptoms and still is present in a patient.

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Common Causes of Cardiomyopathy

The following are the most common causes of Cardiomyopathy:
  • chronic rapid heart rate
  • long-term high blood pressure
  • heart tissue damage from a previous heart attack
  • heart valve problems
  • obesity
  • connective tissue disorders

Other Causes of Cardiomyopathy

The following are the less common causes of Cardiomyopathy:
  • nutritional deficiencies of essential vitamins or minerals
  • pregnancy complications
  • drinking too much alcohol over many years
  • use of cocaine and amphetamines
  • excessive use of anabolic steroids
  • use of chemotherapy drugs
  • exposure to radiation while cancer treatment

Risk Factors for Cardiomyopathy

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Cardiomyopathy:
  • family history
  • high blood pressure
  • obesity
  • alcoholism
  • cancer treatments
  • diabetes
  • thyroid disorders
  • hemochromatosis

Prevention of Cardiomyopathy

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Cardiomyopathy. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • cardiac function monitoring
  • limitation of chemotherapy dose
  • use of anthracycline analogues and cardioprotectants
  • early detection of cardiotoxicity by biomarkers

Occurrence of Cardiomyopathy

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Cardiomyopathy cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Not common between 50K - 500K cases

Common Age Group

Cardiomyopathy can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Cardiomyopathy can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Cardiomyopathy

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Cardiomyopathy:
  • Chest X-ray: To show the images of heart
  • Echocardiogram: To produce the images of the heart
  • Electrocardiogram: To check the electrical activity of the heart
  • Treadmill stress test: To monitor the symptoms of heart rhythms
  • Cardiac catheterization: To produce the biopsy images of the heart
  • Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): To diagnose cardiomyopathy
  • Blood tests: To check kidney, liver and thyroid functions

Doctor for Diagnosis of Cardiomyopathy

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Cardiomyopathy:
  • Cardiologist

Complications of Cardiomyopathy if untreated

Yes, Cardiomyopathy causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Cardiomyopathy is left untreated:
  • heart failure
  • blood clots
  • heart valve problems
  • cardiac arrest
  • can be fatal

Procedures for Treatment of Cardiomyopathy

The following procedures are used to treat Cardiomyopathy:
  • Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD): To control abnormal heart rhythms
  • Septal myectomy: To remove part of the thickened heart muscle wall that separates the two bottom heart chambers
  • Septal ablation: To destroy a small portion of the thickened heart muscle
  • Radiofrequency ablation: To control abnormal heart rhythms
  • Ventricular assist devices (VADs): To circulate blood through heart
  • Heart transplant: To treat end-stage heart failure

Self-care for Cardiomyopathy

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Cardiomyopathy:
  • Quit smoking: Helps in managing cardiomyopathy
  • Maintain healthy bodyweight: Helps in managing cardiomyopathy
  • Exercise regularly: Help manage cardiomyopathy
  • Drink alcohol in moderation: Help manage cardiomyopathy
  • Avoid stress: Help manage cardiomyopathy

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Cardiomyopathy

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Cardiomyopathy:
  • Use chinese herbal medicine: Helps in treating dilated cardiomyopathy in patients with heart failure

Related Topics

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Cardiomyopathy.

Related Topics

Congenital Heart Defects

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