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Around the world, there are many people that suffer from cardiomyopathy. The word cardiomyopathy literally means "heart muscle disease." Cardiomyopathy is a serious disease in which the heart muscle becomes inflamed and doesn't work as well as it should. Cardiomyopathy can generally be categorized into two groups; extrinsic cardiomyopathies and intrinsic cardiomyopathies.

The most common cardiomyopathies are extrinsic. This is because the most common cause of a cardiomyopathy is ischemia. Ischemic cardiomyopathy is basically weakness in the muscle of the heart due to inadequate oxygen delivery to the myocardium. Coronary artery disease is the most common cause for this lack of oxygen, but anemia and sleep apnea have also been known to result in a lack of oxygen. Extrinsic cardiomyopathy can also be caused by some systemic diseases. Diseases like diabetes and muscular dystrophy often result in extrinsic cardiomyopathy. The most common type of cardiomyopathy is congestive/dilated cardiomyopathy, where the heart becomes enlarged and stretched. Since the heart is stretched and not in its normal form, its valves and vessels cannot function properly and therefore cannot pump blood efficiently.

Intrinsic cardiomyopathy is not nearly as common as extrinsic. An intrinsic cardiomyopathy is basically the same thing as extrinsic, except without an identifiable cause. Intrinsic cardiomyopathies are pretty much a mixed-bag of disease states, each with their own causes. Common causes for intrinsic cardiomyopathy include drugs, alcohol, infections, and genetic disorders.

Cardiomyopathy can be recognized in a routine medical check up. The symptoms may include: shortness of breath, cough, leg-swelling, chest pain, fainting, dizziness, loss of appetite, increased urination, or tinnitus. These symptoms occur because the heart is unable to efficiently pump enough blood to the body. Cadriomyopathy can also be seen on an echocardiogram as abnormal...
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