Cardiomyopathy is a term that describes a broad range of diseases related to the heart muscle. For people diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, the heart does not function normally because it became abnormally rigid, abnormally thick, enlarged, or unable to diffuse electrical impulses. Such changes in the heart muscle relate to relate to the principal categories of cardiomyopathy – dilated cardiomyopathy, restrictive cardiomyopathy, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy. In each of the group, several types of cardiomyopathy exist that have differences from one another based on the cause of the occurrence.
Common Conditions For The Occurrence Of Cardiomyopathy
Viral or bacterial infections, inflammatory diseases, chronic alcoholism, coronary artery disease, and blood disorders at the common conditions that lead to the development of cardiomyopathy. Genetic disorders, which run in the family, are also the reason behind the cause of cardiomyopathy. Many forms of cardiomyopathy have no cause. They are known as idiopathic. Although it affects people belonging to different age groups, a few types of cardiomyopathy are likely to attack a specific age group, more in men than women or people belonging to a particular ethnic race.
How Long Does A Person Live After Being Diagnosed With Cardiomyopathy?
Many individuals live a long life without realizing that they have cardiomyopathy because it does not show any symptoms. For others, it leads to the development of severe complications including sudden death, abnormal heart rhythms, and heart failure. One of the primary reason behind the increased heart transplants and the common identifiable reason behind sudden death in athletes is cardiomyopathy. If there is an increase in the symptoms of heart failure, the future of the individuals with cardiomyopathy is discouraging. Only one among every three patients survive for more than five years. Nonetheless, controlling the complications and symptoms derived due to different forms of cardiomyopathy is controllable with the help of medication, lifestyle changes, and surgery.
A few categories of the cardiomyopathy have no preventive measures. Such groups include hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, familial dilated cardiomyopathy, and diverse types of restrictive cardiomyopathy. In a few cases, stopping the growth of restrictive cardiomyopathy is possible by treating underlying diseases.
Regardless of the type of cardiomyopathy, making changes to lifestyle reduces the risk of developing the illness. The following preventive actions are helpful in reducing the risk:
- Controlling blood pressure, which is a significant action that prevents the development of associated heart failure and cardiomyopathy
- Avoiding tobacco
- Opting for a low-diet menu
- Maintaining healthy weight
- Participating in regular exercises
- Avoiding alcohol consumption or limiting it to 2 glasses per day for men and one glass per day for women
- Avoiding use of drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamines
- Speaking with the doctor regularly
The following are the common symptoms that an individual can experience due to the development of cardiomyopathy:
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling of legs
- Swelling of abdomen
- Changes in urination
- Chest pain
- Abnormal weight gain
- Change in mental alertness
The physical exam carried out by the doctor along with the medical history play a pivotal role in the diagnosis of cardiomyopathy. The physical exam and the medical history provide an opportunity for the doctor to determine how the illness is affecting the lifestyle and the provision to collect the data that helps in revealing the information about the condition of the heart. The doctor will listen to the heart and lungs during the physical exam and looks for symptoms of tenderness and swelling.
Tests include – blood tests, chest x-ray, echocardiogram, ECG, heart catheterization, MRI, and polysomnography.
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