Cardiomyopathy: Inflamed Heart

by Jodee on June 30, 2010

heart inflammation photoCardiomyopathy isn’t the same thing as a romantic notion that your heart is on fire. It is a potentially serious medical condition where the heart muscle is inflamed. As a result of the inflammation, it doesn’t pump as effectively as it should.

Primary and Secondary Cardiomyopathy

In primary cardiomyopathy, the condition can’t be attributed to a specific cause. Doctors will consider whether the patient’s condition is due to one of the following:

  • Artery diseases
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Heart valve disease
  • High blood pressure

When secondary cardiomyopathy is diagnosed, the condition is connected to a specific cause. It is linked to a heart ailment.

Congestive Cardiomyopathy

The most common form of this disorder is congestive, or dilated, cardiomyopathy. The patient will have an enlarged heart. As a result of this enlargement and the stretching of the muscle that goes along with it it, the heart is unable to pump effectively.

The patient with congestive cardiomyopathy usually develops heart failure. A person with this disorder is also more likely to develop blood clots, which can break off and block blood vessels serving the heart, lungs, brain or other organs.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

In hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the muscle making up the left ventricle enlarges. A person who is exhibiting the following symptoms may have this condition:

  • Angina
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Shortness of breath on exertion

Restrictive Cardiomyopathy

This form of the disorder is relatively uncommon in the United States. It causes the muscles in the ventricle to become rigid. As a result, it is more difficult for them to fill up with blood in between heartbeats. Signs of restrictive cardiomyopathy include swelling in the hands and feet and shortness of breath on exertion. This condition is usually detected in elderly patients and is secondary to another health issue.

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