Dilated cardiomyopathy refers to a progressive and an irreversible disease that causes global contractile or systolic dysfunction in combination with heart failure. In this type of cardiac disease, heart chambers enlarge as well as lose the contraction ability. DCM i.e. dilated cardiomyopathy disease becomes worse and it spreads to the atria i.e. top chambers and right ventricle.
With the widening of heart chamber, it becomes weak and fails to contract in well manner. Eventually, your heart fails to pump blood in adequate amount in the forward direction, as it normally should. This leads to reversing of fluid in the patients’ lungs and thereby, fluid buildup within the body referred as heart failure.
Symptoms of Dilated Cardiomyopathy
If you are in the initial stage of DCM or Dilated Cardiomyopathy, the problem does not show any symptom. However, symptoms may become worse quickly or gradually. Here, the common symptoms are-
- Breathing shortness with exertion or it may progress when a person goes at rest
- Breathing shortness when a person lies flat
- Sudden breathing shortness that forces a person to wake up during the nighttime
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Reduction in ability of a person to do physical exercise or to stay active
- Swelling in legs and other nearby areas
- Lightheadedness or weakness
- Cough and cold
- Abnormal rhythms of heart
What is the Prognosis for Dilated Cardiomyopathy?
Dilated cardiomyopathy often highlights a survival rate of 50 percent or even less than that at a period of 10 years. However, with proper and supportive care, the survival rate improves by 5 year or 10 year. On the other side, peripartum cardiomyopathy is reversible in approximately 50 percent of total patients, but usually recur with subsequent type of pregnancy.
In this situation, it becomes prime responsibility of any dilated cardiomyopathy patient and patient’s family member to take important steps to manage the conditions properly, as we have mentioned here.
Dilated Cardiomyopathy Management
Cardiologists or doctors give the following major instructions about ways related to managing the problem of DCM i.e. Dilated Cardiomyopathy.
Treatment to Deal with Heart Conditions: Doctors/cardiologists give the necessary treatment to cure your various heart conditions. These will include medications to treat high cholesterol or high blood pressure.
Physical Exercises: You should discuss with your cardiologist about the types of exercises, which you may do easily and on a regular basis.
Lifestyle Changes: Next, you have to discuss about the essential lifestyle changes, to manage your symptoms related to dilated cardiomyopathy. These will include losing extra weight, quitting cigarette or tobacco smoking and follow balanced diet. Especially, you have to put limit on your salt or sodium intake.
Caffeine or Alcohol Intake: Patients of dilated cardiomyopathy whether they have mild symptoms or severe ones should strictly avoid or at least reduce the intake of caffeine or alcohol. This is because; alcohol increases the problem or risk of abnormal heart rhythm.
Careful Monitoring of Symptoms: You should make sure to monitor the symptoms in a careful way. If you gain weight quickly, you should understand that it might be because of increase in the fluid retention or poor functioning of your heart.
DCM Management if it Affects Heart/Cardiac Muscles
If the problem of DCM affects your cardiac or heart muscles i.e. your heart enlarges to create difficulty in pumping of blood or cause fluid retention and dangerous heart rhythms, you should definitely-
- Follow the instructions of your doctor carefully and intake medicines, as prescribed to you.
- Schedule appointment with your doctor to undergo health checkups on a regular basis, as it is essential even when you do not face any symptom.
- Intimate your doctor/cardiologist in case your symptoms become worse or severe.