Encyclopedia

Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy is a disease characterized by abnormal heart muscle. Also three main types of the clinical condition – dilatory, hypertrophic and restrictive.

The disease disrupts and weakens the heart’s pumping function, which is why the body’s tissues begin to suffer from a lack of oxygen. Cardiomyopathy can lead to heart failure.

The disease can be cured. The method of treatment is determined depending on the form of the clinical condition and how serious it is.

Treatment consists of the appointment of drug therapy, surgical implantation of devices or, in the most severe cases, a heart transplant.

What are the symptoms?

In the early stages of the disease those affected may not develop any clinical signs.

But as the clinical condition progresses usually signs and symptoms appear which most often consist of:

• Shortness of breath on exertion and even at rest;
• Swelling of legs, ankles and feet;
• Cough;
• Fatigue;
• Irregular heartbeat, as usual heartbeats are heard and felt by the affected person;
• Dizziness, lightheadedness and seizures;

If left untreated, the disease progresses regardless of its type.

Some of those affected experience rapid deterioration, while others may feel well for a very long time.

When should we seek medical help?

Consult your doctor if you experience one or more of the symptoms of the disease.

Call 112 if you feel severe chest pain that lasts more than a few minutes and you can’t breathe, even if you are calm.

Since the disease is sometimes hereditary, your doctor may recommend testing the whole family.

What are the causes?

Often the cause of the disease is not established.

In some people, however, doctors manage to identify predisposing factors.

Probable cause of the disease are:

• Chronic hypertension;

• Impaired function of any of the heart valves;

• Damage to heart tissue from a previous heart attack;

• Chronic arrhythmia;

• Metabolic disorders such as obesity, thyroid disease or diabetes;

• Deficiency of the main vitamins and minerals in the body such as vitamin B1.

• Use of excessive amounts of alcohol for years;

• Use of certain chemotherapy drugs to treat malignant diseases;

• Pregnancy;

• Use of cocaine, amphetamines or anabolic steroids;

• Certain viral infections that can affect the heart and cause cardiomyopathy;

There are three main types of the disease:

• Dilatative – this is the common type of the disease characterized by impaired pumping function of the left ventricle.

It increases in size and is unable to pump blood efficiently from the heart.

Although the dilatory form of the disease can develop in people of all ages, it most often affects people in the age range of 30-50 years, with the majority of cases occurring in men.

Some of those affected have a family history of this form of the disease.

Hypertrophic – the heart muscle grows or thickens abnormally, with the left pumping heart chamber being particularly affected.

Restrictive – characterized by hardening and less elasticity of the muscle tissue that makes up the heart, due to which the organ cannot expand sufficiently between contractions and absorb a sufficient volume of blood.

Treatment of cardiomyopathy

A supplement whose active ingredient is coenzyme Q10 is thought to reduce shortness of breath as well as help remove excess fluids from the body .

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