Cardiomyopathy is a group of disease that affects heart muscles. It is mostly hereditary (run into families). These diseases enlarge the heart muscle or make it thicker and more rigid than normal. In rare cases, scar tissue replaces the muscle tissue.
Types of cardiomyopathy:
- Dilated cardiomyopathy - It happens when the heart muscle begins to stretch and becomes thinner.
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy- It occurs if the heart muscle cells enlarge and cause the walls of the heart to thicken. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a common cause of sudden cardiac arrest in young people, including athletes.
- Restrictive cardiomyopathy- It tends to affect older adults. The heart becomes rigid because abnormal tissue (e.g. scar tissue) replaces the normal heart muscle so the heart muscle is unable to relax
- Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia- It is caused by genetic defects of the parts of heart muscle known as desmosomes, areas on the surface of heart muscle cells which link the cells together.
- Stress cardiomyopathy or broken heart syndrome: It is a type of non-ischemic cardiomyopathy in which there is a sudden temporary weakening of the muscular portion of the heart, it is mostly caused by emotional ups-downs.
Symptoms of cardiomyopathy:
Many people live a long life with cardiomyopathy. Many didn't get any symptoms or know that they are affected by it. As cardiomyopathy worsens and weakens the heart, symptoms of heart failure usually occur, which may include:
Causes of cardiomyopathy:
In most cases and types of cardiomapathy, the cause of it is inherited. But in case of restrictive and dilated cardiomyopathy there may be some other causes.
In case of dilated cardiomayopathy:
In case of restrictive cardiomayopathy:
- Amyloidosis: A disease in which abnormal proteins build up in the body's organs, including the heart
- Connective tissue disorders
- Hemochromatosis: A disease in which too much iron builds up in the body. The extra iron is toxic to the body and can damage the organs, including the heart.
- Sarcoidosis: A disease that causes inflammation and can affect various organs in the body.
Some cancer treatments, such as radiation and chemotherapy
Risk factors of cardiomyopathy:
The major risk factor in case of cardiomyopathy is the family history of heart diaseases. Other risk factors may include:
- A family history of cardiomyopathy, heart failure, or sudden cardiac arrest (SCA)
- A disease or condition that can lead to cardiomyopathy, such as coronary heart disease, heart attack, or a viral infection that inflames the heart muscle
- Diabetes or other metabolic diseases, or severe obesity
- Diseases that can damage the heart, such as hemochromatosis, sarcoidosis, or amyloidosis
- Long-term alcoholism
- Long-term high blood pressure
Treatment of cardiomyopathy:
There may be surgical treatments in case of severe cardiomyopathy, which may include:
- Septal myectomy, it is an open-heart surgery and is used to treat people who have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and severe symptoms.
- Surgically implanted device, which is placed in the heart to improve its function.
- Heart transplant, it is used to treat any end-stage heart failure.
In less severe cases, medications are used. Which are?
- Medications to balance electrolytes in your body- Abnormal electrolyte levels may be a sign of dehydration, heart failure, high blood pressure, or other disorders. Aldosterone are example of such medicine.
- Medications to keep heart beating in normal rhythm-These medicines, called antiarrhythmics, help prevent arrhythmias.
- Medications to lower the blood pressure-ACE inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers, beta blockers, and calcium channel blockers are examples of medicines that lower blood pressure.
- Medications to create prevent blood clots from forming. Anticoagulants, or blood thinners, are an example of a medicine that prevents blood clots. Blood thinners often are used to prevent blood clots from forming in people who have dilated cardiomyopathy.
- Medications to reduce inflammation-Corticosteroids are an example of a medicine used to reduce inflammation.
- Medication to remove excess sodium from thebody. Diuretics, or water pills, are an example of medicines that help remove excess sodium from the body, which reduces the amount of fluid in the blood.
- Medications to reduce the heart rate. Beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, and digoxin are examples of medicines that slow the heart rate. Beta blockers and calcium channel blockers also are used to lower blood pressure.
Diagnosis of cardiomyopathy:
- It primary diagnosis, the doctor learns about if any family history of heart disease, and physical exam which include listening to heart beats.
- A chest x ray, which takes pictures of the organs and structures inside the chest, such as your heart, lungs, and blood vessels. This test can show if heart is enlarged or not.
- Stress test may also be done to see the beating of heart during any intense physical exercise.
- An electrocardiogram, to measure the heart's electrical activity
- An echocardiogram, it shows how is the heart is working, its shape and size.