Your heart is, by far, the most important muscle in your body. The heart muscle has two specific movements that it completes. The first is a constriction or squeezing and the second is a relaxation. As it beats (or pumps) the heart takes in blood and oxygen from your organs and sends out fresh blood and oxygen. It may seem simple, but the precise and evenly timed motion the heart goes through is vital to your survival.
Sometimes the heart muscle doesn’t work the way we need it to. It may become weak or compromised because the passages to it are blocked, it may become covered in a layer of fat that makes It work too hard to beat, it may become so muscular that it becomes larger or, in the case of cardiomyopathy, it may become inflamed and weak and unable to work properly making your body lose circulation and your other organs miss out on vital blood and oxygen.
What causes cardiomyopathy?
Cardiomyopathy is actually a disease. The disease causes your heart to become inflamed, thereby preventing its ability to properly contract and expand. The disease can be brought on as a result of consistent high blood pressure, congenital defects of the heart, heart disease and other cardiac ailments. In some cases, it can be brought on by diseases that affect other organs rather than the heart.
What are the symptoms of cardiomyopathy?
The symptoms of depend on which type you have. There are three different types:
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: In this type of cardiomyopathy, the left ventricle of the heart gets extremely large and sometimes the wall between both of the ventricles grows and stops the flow of blood from the left ventricle. Generally, those who have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy will experience shortness of breath, dizziness, cardiac arrhythmias, chest pain and fainting. This type of cardiomyopathy is most often found in children and can be genetic or the result of a mutation.
Dilated cardiomyopathy: This is the most common form of cardiomyopathy and occurs when the cavity has become enlarged. Symptoms include blood clots, arrhythmias, and heart failure. Often, this form of cardiomyopathy is diagnosed in middle aged men and is often genetic.
Restrictive cardiomyopathy: When the ventricles become too stiff to move they can’t fill with blood. Symptoms include fatigue, poor circulation, difficulty breathing and swollen limbs. Restrictive cardiomyopathy is often found in older men and women and rarely has a genetic link.
Are there any treatments for cardiomyopathy?
Treatments for cardiomyopathy can be in the form of pacemakers or pills. In the case of a pacemaker, it stimulates your heart using electricity in order to make it beat more quickly. In the case of cardiomyopathy, this can make up for a myriad of problems.
Tablet or pill treatments are centered on a protein called angiotensin that is responsible for making your blood vessels constrict. This forces your arteries to dilate more and actually allows for more blood flow in and out of your heart; it also reduces your blood pressure which can be the source of your cardiomyopathy in the first place. If you suffer from dilated cardiomyopathy you can try enzyme converter that lessens your angiotensin or an angiotensin receptor blocker.
If you find you are experiencing any of the symptoms of cardiomyopathy, be sure to visit your primary care physician as soon as possible. He or she may refer you to a cardiologist or may conduct the appropriate tests themselves. Once you have a definitive diagnosis, your doctor can prescribe the right combination of medication and let you know how you can monitor and treat your condition.