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Cardiomyopathy Information

Cardiomyopathy is an inflammation of the heart muscle. The left ventricle is usually affected the most, becoming enlarged, thickened or rigid. The result is a heart that cannot pump blood effectively throughout the body. If left untreated, heart failure may result.

Types of Cardiomyopathy & Symptoms

Three main types of cardiomyopathy exist - dilated, hypertrophic, and restrictive cardiomyopathy. Symptoms of cardiomyopathy may arise when the condition begins to affect heart function.

Difficulty breathing, fatigue, cardiac arrhythmia, dizziness, and edema are symptoms of heart failure that can result from cardiomyopathy.

In addition, cardiomyopathy increases the risk of blood clots, heart valve disorders, and sudden death from cardiac arrest.


The exact cause of cardiomyopathy is often unknown, although inheriting the disorder or having a family history of cardiomyopathy is common. Other causes include coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, heart valve disorders, diabetes, thyroid disease, nutritional deficiencies, viral infections, drug abuse, or certain chemotherapy medications.

Alcoholic cardiomyopathy is a condition that results from excessive and chronic alcohol use. It is common in middle aged men but can occur in anyone who abuses alcohol over time.

Cardiomyopathy Treatments

Treatment of cardiomyopathy includes medications to lower blood pressure, help your heart pump, and reduce excess fluid. Pacemakers may be necessary to maintain proper heart rhythm. In addition, lifestyle changes to help reduce excess fluid buildup include monitoring salt and water intake.

Cardiomyopathy can sometimes be treated with ablation, a procedure that removes extra heart tissue to help reduce thickening and help the heart perform. If cardiomyopathy progresses, a heart transplant may be performed.


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