Cardiomyopathy is a general term for a heart muscle disease that affects how the heart pumps. It is a chronic disease that can lead to heart failure, arrhythmias, and other complications. Different types of cardiomyopathy include dilated, hypertrophic, restrictive, and arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy.
Assessment: Assessment of cardiomyopathy typically begins with a thorough medical history, physical examination, and laboratory tests. Diagnostic imaging, such as an echocardiogram or cardiac MRI, may be done to look for signs of heart muscle damage and determine the heart chambers' size and shape. Electrocardiography (ECG) may be used to measure the heart's electrical activity and detect any abnormal heart rhythms.
Risk Factors: Common risk factors for cardiomyopathy include high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, smoking, a family history of cardiomyopathy, and certain viral infections. Additionally, people with certain genetic conditions, such as Noonan syndrome or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, may be more likely to develop cardiomyopathy.
Symptoms: The symptoms of cardiomyopathy can vary depending on the type and severity of the condition. Common symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, lightheadedness, chest discomfort, and swelling in the feet, ankles, and legs. In some cases, cardiomyopathy may not cause symptoms until the condition has become severe.
Treatment: Treatment for cardiomyopathy depends on the type and severity of the condition. Treatment may include lifestyle changes, such as reducing sodium intake and limiting alcohol consumption; medications, such as ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, diuretics, and anticoagulants; or procedures, such as an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator or cardiac ablation. In some cases, a heart transplant may be necessary.