Cardiomyopathy : Types, Causes, and Treatment
There are certain conditions associated with the heart and cardiomyopathy is one of those. Cardiomyopathy is a disease that affects the heart muscles. In this condition, the heart is not able to transfer blood to the body. This further leads to various conditions such as feeling tired all the time, having breathing problems, and heart-Pilates. The condition, if not treated in time, gets worse. The treatment can slow the progress and impair the quality of life. In severe cases, Cardiomyopathy can lead to heart failure.
Types of Cardiomyopathy
In this type of cardiomyopathy, the ability to pump blood of the heart's primary pumping chamber - the left ventricle - gets larger (dilated) and it isn't able to pump blood from the heart. This is also referred to as an enlarged heart. This type is possibly inherited or could be caused by coronary artery disease.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy causes the abnormal growth of the heart muscle that makes it difficult to pump blood. It most commonly affects the muscles of the heart's main pumping chamber (left ventricle). This may be caused due to Diabetes or thyroid disorder.
The heart muscle gets stiffer, becoming less elastic, which means it's unable to expand and fill up with blood in between heartbeats. The least well-known kind of cardiomyopathy can develop at any time, but it is most commonly seen in the elderly.
Restrictive Cardiomyopathy can develop in a variety of ways without any reason (idiopathic) or may be caused by a condition elsewhere within the body that impacts the heart, for example amyloidosis.
Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia (ARVD)
In this uncommon type of cardiomyopathy, the muscle of the lower right chamber (right ventricle) of the heart is replaced with scar tissue that can cause problems with the heart's rhythm. It is usually due to genetic changes.
Ischemic cardiomyopathy is when the heart is unable to supply blood to the rest of the body because of coronary artery disease. The blood vessels to the heart muscle become narrowed and blocked. The heart muscle is deprived of oxygen. Ischemic cardiomyopathy is a frequent cause of heart failure.
Peripartum cardiomyopathy can occur during or after the birth of a baby. This rare condition occurs when the heart is weak within the first five months after delivery or in the last month of pregnancy. If it occurs after delivery, it's often referred to as postpartum cardiomyopathy. It's a kind of dilated cardiomyopathy, and it's a potentially life-threatening condition. There is no specific reason behind it.
It is also known as Spongiform Cardiomyopathy which is a rare condition that occurs in the womb. It is caused by an abnormal growth of heart muscles within the womb. Diagnosis may occur at any phase of life.
It is due to drinking excessive alcohol for a long period of time. This could weaken the heart, which further leads to it being unable to effectively pump the blood. This results in heart enlargement.
Causes of Cardiomyopathy
Certain medical conditions or behavior that could lead to cardiomyopathy are:
- Long term high blood pressure.
- Damage to the heart's tissue as a heart attack.
- Long-term, rapid heart rate.
- Heart valve problems.
- COVID-19 infection.
- Certain infections, specifically those that result in inflammation in the heart.
- Metabolic disorders, like thyroid disease, obesity, or diabetes.
- A lack of vital minerals or vitamins in daily diet for example Thiamin (vitamin B-1).
- Pregnancy complications.
- Iron buildup in heart muscle (hemochromatosis).
- The formation of small lumps of inflammation cells (granulomas) anywhere in the body such as the lungs and heart (sarcoidosis).
- The accumulation of abnormal proteins within the organs (amyloidosis).
- Connective tissue disorders.
- Alcohol consumption that is excessive over a long period of time.
- The use of amphetamines, cocaine or anabolic steroids.
- The use of certain chemotherapy drugs as well as radiation to fight cancer.
Symptoms of Cardiomyopathy
The symptoms of all types of cardiomyopathy are similar. In all instances, the heart isn't able to provide blood flow to organs and tissues within the human body. This can cause symptoms that include:
- General fatigue and weakness
- Breathlessness, especially during exertion or exercise
- Dizziness and lightheadedness
- Chest pain
- Heart palpitations
- High blood pressure
- Fainting attacks
- Swelling of your ankles, feet and legs
How to recover from cardiomyopathy?
This condition isn't curable however, with treatment, symptoms can be reduced and many people live active and healthy lives.
Treatment for Cardiomyopathy
The treatment for cardiomyopathy depends on the degree of damage to the heart due and body due to cardiomyopathy & its symptoms. Some people might not need treatment until symptoms appear.
People who start to feel breathless or chest pain could require some changes to their lifestyle or take medication.
Heart-healthy lifestyle changes
Should get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet including a variety of fruits and vegetables and whole grains.
Take Medicines that are used for treating high blood pressure, prevent water retention, maintain the heart running at a normal rhythm, stop blood clots and inflammation.
Surgically implanted devices
Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), Ventricular assist device (VAD) and Pacemaker can be surgically implanted in the heart to improve its functions.
The purpose of heart transplant is to help the heart be as efficient as possible, and also to stop any further damage or the loss of functionality.
Home Remedies for Cardiomyopathy
Reduce alcohol consumption or switching to healthier alternatives –
Try mint and lemon in sparkling water to get rid of alcohol or tobacco.
Controlling high blood pressure
Through reducing sodium intake and eating more nutritious foods such as lean meats , grilled vegetables.
Lowering your cholesterol level
By switching saturated fats (takeaways and dairy products, biscuits, etc.) for non-saturated fats (olive oil and avocados, nuts)
Work on lowering stress
Meditation and taking time to relax whenever you're in need will aid in reducing stress.
Do regular exercise
Take an hour of walking every day and also take the stairs instead of taking lifts.
When to see a doctor?
Consult your physician/doctor if you are suffering from one or more of the symptoms or signs that are related to cardiomyopathy.
Cardiomyopathy could be passed in the families (inherited). If you suffer from an illness, your physician/doctor may suggest that family members of yours be checked.