Cardiomyopathy is a serious condition in which the heart muscles become inflamed and don’t work properly.
There are various causes of cardiomyopathy including viral infections.
Cardiomyopathy is classified as primary or secondary. Causes of primary cardiomyopathy, though hard to pinpoint, include heart valve disease, high blood pressure, congenital heart defects or artery diseases.
On the other hand, there are specific causes for secondary cardiomyopathy, including diseases of the heart and other organs.
Types of Cardiomyopathy
Dilated cardiomyopathy: Also known as congestive cardiomyopathy, in which the heart becomes dilated or enlarged due to weak heart muscles.
Sometimes, abnormal heart rhythms or heart arrhythmia can be observed in patients with dilated cardiomyopathy, as the heart cannot pump sufficient oxygen-rich blood to various other parts of your body.
A change in heart structure with cardiomyopathy affects the manner that electrical signals regulate the heartbeat, thus causing tachycardia, a condition of rapid heartbeat or bradycardia, a condition of decreased heartbeat.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: An abnormal thickening of the muscular heart wall. This can lead to obstruction of blood flow from your heart, which is known as hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy.
Restrictive cardiomyopathy: A rare type of cardiomyopathy, in which heart muscles become rigid, and make it difficult for your heart to relax and unable to fill effectively.
Dealing with cardiomyopathy
Treating dilated cardiomyopathy
Cardiomyopathy leads to blood clots before any other symptoms appear, so anti-clotting blood therapy is recommended. If the patient is young and healthy, and if the disease becomes worse, a heart transplant is often recommended.
Hypertensive heart disease that leads to high blood pressure levels can be treated by using vasodilators, which are drugs that relax the arteries to effectively lower blood pressure.
Medications such as Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors improve the heart’s pumping capacity, Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) and beta blockers to improve heart function are recommended.
Treating hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
Beta blockers or calcium channel blockers are recommended to treat hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. If the person has an arrhythmia, then anti-arrhythmic drugs are suggested. Surgery is prescribed if the drug treatments fail to work.
During the advanced cases of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, your surgeon removes a part of the thickened muscle wall that obstructs normal blood flow. This procedure is called septal myotomy-myectomy.
A non-surgical option such as alcohol ablation is suggested for hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy. Alcohol is injected into a small branch of one of the arteries to reduce the additional heart muscles. This procedure allows additional heart muscles to weaken without any surgery.
Treating restrictive cardiomyopathy
For treating restrictive cardiomyopathy, you need to pay careful attention to salt and water intake. Monitor your weight regularly, and take diuretics if sodium or water retention becomes a problem [Weight management].
Medications prescribed for cardiomyopathy can pose various side-effects, so it is essential to discuss the possible side-effects with your doctor before considering any of these drugs.