Unexplained Weight Loss With Fatigue Abdominal Pain Normal Blood Work Cardiomyopathy: A Big Heart Is Not Always A Good Thing

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Cardiomyopathy: A Big Heart Is Not Always A Good Thing

A ‘big heart’ may sound like a metaphor but in reality, it’s a serious health problem. Enlargement of the heart muscle is called cardiomyopathy. Cardiomyopathy is a group of conditions that affect the ability of the heart muscles to pump blood.

The human heart has four chambers – two atria and two ventricles. The atria receive blood and push the blood through the heart. These cells are made up of a special type of muscle called cardiac muscle. Cardiomyopathy affects the size and shape of the heart muscles.

Cardiomyopathy can cause hardening of the heart muscles, hardening of the muscles, or stretching of the heart muscles.

Types of Cardiomyopathy

There are four main types of heart disease: dilated cardiomyopathy, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia, and restrictive cardiomyopathy.

Dilated cardiomyopathy

This is a condition in which the heart muscles become thin, stretched, weak, and unable to pump blood. This is the most fatal type of cardiomyopathy.

Thinning of the heart muscle makes the heart bigger. Heart failure leads to heart failure.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

This is a genetic form of cardiomyopathy in which the heart muscles block the flow of blood through the heart, from the heart to the rest of the body. Thickening of the walls of the heart makes the heart unable to hold enough blood.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy often goes undiagnosed but is the leading cause of sudden cardiac arrest in young adults.

Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia

In this type of cardiomyopathy, the heart muscle of the ventricles is replaced by fat and fibrous tissue. This is a rare form of heart disease.

Loss of heart muscle cells leads to heart failure and irregular heartbeat. This type of cardiomyopathy is caused by mutations in the genes that control the proteins that heart cells produce. This causes the heart muscle cells to die, and the dead cells are replaced by tissue and fat.

Restrictive cardiomyopathy

In obstructive cardiomyopathy, the walls of the ventricles become stiff and cannot relax. This affects the pumping of blood from the heart. It is the least common form of cardiomyopathy.

The cause is not known but it may occur as a result of scarring after a heart transplant or a hereditary disease.

Other types of cardiomyopathy include stress cardiomyopathy, secondary cardiomyopathy, and ischemic cardiomyopathy.

Symptoms of Cardiomyopathy

Since cardiomyopathy affects the heart’s pumping action, the following symptoms may occur:

  • Breathe

  • Fatigue

  • Irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmia)

  • Chest pain

  • Laziness and fatigue

  • It takes a little patience to work

  • Blood pressure (high blood pressure)

  • Swelling of the extremities of the legs and feet

  • Accumulation of fluid in the abdomen

  • Constant cough, especially when lying down

Treatment of Cardiomyopathy

Before starting treatment, cardiomyopathy should be properly diagnosed. Diagnosis of cardiomyopathy includes physical examination, electrocardiography (ECG), blood tests, genetic testing, and echocardiography.

Treatment of cardiomyopathy can include the following:

Lifestyle changes such as eating less salt, not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and limiting alcohol consumption.

Medications to treat high blood pressure, bloating and water retention, chest pain, heart palpitations, and medications to control heart failure.

Surgery to remove a thickened heart muscle

Implantation of a pacemaker

Heart transplant (in severe cases)

Implantation of an internal defibrillator

Who is at risk for Cardiomyopathy?

Family history and genetic factors are one of the main risk factors for the development of cardiomyopathy. Other factors that can affect people with cardiomyopathy include:

  • Great loss

  • Diabetes

  • Alcohol dependence

  • Sarcoidosis

  • chronic hypertension

  • Heart attack

  • HIV/AIDS

Cardiomyopathy can be life-threatening but often goes undiagnosed. Knowing your family history of heart conditions as well as regular heart checkups can help you recognize the condition and begin treatment if needed.

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