It is a disease of abnormal heart muscle that makes it harder for the heart to pump blood and deliver it throughout the body. It can be either dilated, hypertrophic, or restrictive.
Dilated: left ventricle becomes less powerful and can't pump blood as well (most common)
Hypertrophic: the heart muscle experiences abnormal growths and thickening
Restrictive: the heart muscle becomes rigid and less elastic
Symptoms usually present when the condition has advanced: Breathlessness with exertion or even at rest, swelling of the legs, ankles and feet, bloating of the abdomen due to fluid buildup, cough, fatigue, irregular heartbeats that feel rapid, pounding or fluttering, dizziness, lightheadedness and fainting
The cause of cardiomyopathy is relatively unknown, but some contributing factors have been identified: long-term high blood pressure, genetic disorders, hemochromatosis (iron buildup in the heart), pregnancy, heart valve problems, damage from previous heart attack, drug use, metabolic disorders
After the doctor conducts a physical examination, takes a history, and becomes suspicious of the patient having cardiomyopathy, these tests can be used to confirm: chest x-ray, echocardiogram, ECG, cardiac catheterization and biopsy, MRI, and blood tests
3 million every year
Not much can be done to prevent cardiomyopathy. To avoid heart failure people should avoid cocaine and other drug abuse, avoid alcohol abuse, keep a proper diet and exercise routine, and maintain low blood pressure
Family history of cardiomyopathy, obesity, alcoholism, illicit drug use, cancer treatments, diabetes, thyroid disorders, hemochromatosis
Heart failure, blood clots, valve problems, cardiac arrest and sudden death
Dilated Cardiomyopathy: ACE inhibitors, ARBs, beta blockers, digoxin, diuretics
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: septal myectomy, septal ablation, ICD, pacemaker implantation
Restrictive Cardiomyopathy: heart transplant and ventricular assist devices, managing salt and water intake
Mayo Clinic Staff. "Diseases and Conditions." Cardiomyopathy. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 1998-2015. Web. 08 Mar. 2015. <http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cardiomyopathy/basics/definition/con-20026819>.