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Health Condition

Cardiomyopathy

About This Condition

Cardiomyopathy refers to abnormalities in the structure or function of the heart muscle. There are three major types of cardiomyopathy: dilated congestive, hypertrophic, and restrictive.

The most prevalent form is dilated congestive cardiomyopathy (DCM). In people with DCM, the heart muscle is damaged, most commonly by coronary artery disease (atherosclerosis).1 People with diabetes have been reported to be at increased risk of DCM.2 DCM can also be triggered by alcohol abuse, infections, exposure to certain drugs and toxins, nutritional deficiencies, connective tissue diseases, hereditary disorders, and pregnancy.

In DCM, the heart gradually loses its efficiency as a pump. Cardiomyopathy is a serious health condition and requires expert medical care rather than self-treatment. However, because of the associations between cardiomyopathy and diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, hypertension, and congestive heart failure, lifestyle recommendations for the prevention of these conditions may also help prevent DCM.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is usually a hereditary disorder, although the incidence of this form of cardiomyopathy may also be higher in people with hypertension.3 Restrictive cardiomyopathy is usually due to a connective tissue disease, cancer, or an autoimmune condition. Both hypertrophic and restrictive cardiomyopathies are relatively uncommon.

Symptoms

People with cardiomyopathy may have difficulty breathing during light exertion, and they may become fatigued easily. Other chronic symptoms are swelling around the ankles and an enlarged abdomen.

Other Therapies

Severe cases might require heart transplantation surgery.

References

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16. Takeo S, Tanonaka K, Hirai K, et al. Beneficial effect of tan-shen, an extract from the root of Salvia, on post-hypoxic recovery of cardiac contractile force. Biochem Pharmacol 1990 40:1137-43.

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18. Xing ZQ, Zeng XC, Yi CT. Effect of Salvia miltiorrhiza on serum lipid peroxide, superoxide dismutase of the patients with coronary heart disease. Chung Kuo Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih 1996;16:287-8 [in Chinese].

19. Paulson DJ. Carnitine deficiency-induced cardiomyopathy. Mol Cell Biochem 1998;180(1-2):33-41.

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30. Valgaeren G, Conraads V, Colpaert C, et al. Sudden death in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: risk stratification and prevention. Acta Cardiol 1998;53(1):23-9.

31. Belardinelli R, Georgiou D, Cianci G, et al. Effects of exercise training on left ventricular filling at rest and during exercise in patients with ischemic cardiomyopathy and severe left ventricular systolic dysfunction. Am Heart J 1996;132(1 Pt 1):61-70.

32. Belardinelli R, Georgiou D, Cianci G, et al. Exercise training improves left ventricular diastolic filling in patients with dilated cardiomyopathy. Clinical and prognostic implications. Circulation 1995;91(11):2775-84.

33. Wielenga RP, Erdman RA, Huisveld IA, et al. Effect of exercise training on quality of life in patients with chronic heart failure. J Psychosom Res 1998;45(5):459-64.

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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2018.