Friday, February 3, 2023

For Patients: Understanding Your Diagnosis of Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy can be a diverse diagnosis. There are many different types — some inherited, others due to injury to the heart, treatment side effects, pregnancy, and a range of other causes. The thing they have in common is that they are diseases of the heart muscle (myocardium) that may result in less effective pumping blood and that can lead to heart failure.

This is the first installment in a continuing series that will help explain the disease and how it’s typically managed, although your individual case may vary and is best discussed in depth with your doctor.

Does diagnosis with cardiomyopathy mean I have heart failure?

Not necessarily, although cardiomyopathy can lead to heart failure.

What are the types of cardiomyopathy?

The main types of cardiomyopathy are dilated, hypertrophic, and restrictive.

In restrictive cardiomyopathy, the heart becomes stiff, scarred, or both. It can pump blood out well but doesn’t relax fully to allow blood to refill the pumping chamber. This creates a “traffic jam” into the heart, so fluid builds up in the lungs and raises pressure in other parts of the heart.

In dilated cardiomyopathy, the walls of the blood-pumping chambers of the heart stretch out and get thinner. At first, this allows them to hold more blood to pump out, but the muscle can’t squeeze properly and weakens, which can lead to heart failure.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is when the heart muscle thickens, which can block blood from flowing from one part of the heart to another or can make it unable to relax between beats to allow it to fill up with blood to pump.

Other types include arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD), transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy (ATTR-CM), broken heart syndrome (stress-induced or takotsubo cardiomyopathy), chemotherapy-induced cardiomyopathy, and peripartum cardiomyopathy.

Who gets cardiomyopathy?

Cardiomyopathy can happen at any age, including in children and teenagers. Family history, a prior heart attack, diabetes, and other factors may contribute to risk. Cardiomyopathy affects about 1 in 500 adults.

What are the symptoms of cardiomyopathy?

Cardiomyopathy may have no symptoms, especially at first. As it gets worse, you may start to feel tiredness (fatigue), a rapid heartbeat (palpitations), shortness of breath (dyspnea), and swelling (edema) in your legs, calves, or ankles.

MedPage Today‘s “Medical Journeys” is a set of clinical resources reviewed by doctors, meant for physicians and other healthcare professionals as well as the patients they serve. Each episode of this 12-part journey through a disease state contains both a physician guide and a downloadable/printable patient resource. “Medical Journeys” chart a path each step of the way for physicians and patients and provide continual resources and support, as the caregiver team navigates the course of a disease.

Download This Resource

Download

Cardiomyopathy:_Understanding_Your_Diagnosis.pdf

Nation World News Desk
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