Cardiomyopathy is a disease primarily contained within the heart muscles and it is known to cause the heart to become enlarged, thick, or rigid. There are several types of this disease which are dilated cardiomyopathy, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, restrictive cardiomyopathy, and arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia. All of these are known types of cardiomyopathy and within each type are subcategories of other different types of cardiomyopathy. These diseases all have different causes, but the signs and symptoms are very similar. Also the treatments can become different as well with pertaining to any type of cardiomyopathy a person may have. Cardiomyopathy can either be acquired or it can be inherited through the expression of genes. Someone who has acquired cardiomyopathy means that they either obtained it from another disease or through their lifestyle by smoking, drinking, their diet or stress.
Over the years, researchers have gathered many different causes to cardiomyopathy. Although the cause of cardiomyopathy in many cases is unknown, there have been many links to other diseases, heart conditions and certain substances that enable cardiomyopathy to develop. Things like coronary heart disease, diabetes, thyroid disease and H.I.V. are known to cause cardiomyopathy. Substances like alcohol, stimulants and even a couple of medications are also known to cause cardiomyopathy. These are the most common types of how dilated cardiomyopathy can occur. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is mostly due to inheritance and it affects the heart muscle proteins. Restrictive cardiomyopathy mainly occurs due to other diseases known to have toxic properties within the heart. Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia is known to be inherited. This disease occurs when the right ventricle dies and becomes replaced by scar tissue resulting in inadequate blood flow.
The signs and symptoms of cardiomyopathy are usually very subtle in the early stages and are often over-looked. It isn’t until a person experiences heavy shortness of breath, fatigue, or swelling, mainly in the ankles, feet, legs, abdomen and neck of the body. Other signs can be dizziness and fainting, and irregular heartbeats. Physical exertion is one of the best ways to know if you have cardiomyopathy. Many people look past the shortness of breath especially if they know they are not in very good physical shape. But this can be a very good sign to detect if someone is developing cardiomyopathy. There are other very effective ways to discover if someone is developing cardiomyopathy but these ways require a doctor visit. Doctors perform many tests like blood tests, E.K.G (Electrocardiogram), chest x-rays, echocardiography, and stress tests. These tests will give the doctor a better picture on how someone’s heart is behaving and will detect if any enlargement has occurred.
There are many treatments available for this disease but the treatments differ depending on which type of cardiomyopathy someone has and how the disease was caused. First and foremost, a healthy diet and adequate exercise is needed in order to be able to treat the disease. Without a healthy diet and exercise, any other treatment can become less effective or may not be effective at all. Foods which are low in saturated fats and low in sodium are highly recommended. A diet which includes lean meats and whole grains along with fruits and vegetables are the most beneficial for a person’s body. Moderate physical activity is needed but a doctor should first be consulted to see how much physical exercise one needs and the intensity of the exercise. A person’s diet and exercise can be a treatment used in any of the types of cardiomyopathy. On top of diet and exercise, there are numerous medications given order to treat the type of cardiomyopathy the person has. These medications...
References: "What Is Cardiomyopathy?" NHLBI.nih.gov. National Institutes of Health, 01 Jan. 2011. Web. 27 Oct. 2013.
Staff, Mayo Clinic. "Definition." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 02 Mar. 2012. Web. 27 Oct. 2013.
Maddox, Thomas M. "Enlarged Heart (Cardiomyopathy) Symptoms, Causes, Treatments." WebMD. WebMD, 28 Feb. 2012. Web. 27 Oct. 2013.
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