What is Heart Muscle Disease?
It is a disease that makes it harder for your heart to pump blood to the rest of your body, also known as Cardiomyopathy that can lead to heart failure. Cardiomyopathy is an ongoing disease of the myocardium. In most cases, the heart muscle (myocardium) weakens and cannot pump blood to the rest of the body as it should. There are many different types of Cardiomyopathy caused by various factors, which can all lead to heart failure, irregular heartbeat, valve problems, or other complications.
The main types of Cardiomyopathy are dilated hypertrophic and restrictive Cardiomyopathy. It depends on which kind of Cardiomyopathy you have and how serious it is.
Cardiomyopathy generally has four types.
Dilated Cardiomyopathy occurs when your heart muscle is too weak. The muscles be-come stretch and thinner. This condition allows the chambers of your heart to expand. You can inherit it, or it can be due to coronary artery disease.
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is known to be genetic. It happens when your heart walls thicken and prevent blood from flowing through your heart. Long-term high blood pressure or aging can cause this condition. Diabetes or thyroid can also cause hyper-trophic Cardiomyopathy.
Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD): This condition is a rare form of Cardiomyopathy, but it is often the cause of sudden death in young athletes. In this type of genetic condition, fat and extra fibrous tissue replace the right ventricle muscle. This condition causes abnormal heart rhythms.
Restrictive Cardiomyopathy: is the least common form. It occurs when the ventricles can’t relax enough to fill up with blood. It frequently occurs after a heart transplant. It can also happen from an underlying heart condition.
Peripartum Cardiomyopathy: the cause is unknown; it occurs when the heart weakens within five months of delivery or in the final month of pregnancy, and it’s a life-threatening condition.
Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy: This is due to too much alcohol intake over a long time, and your heart becomes enlarged.
Ischemic Cardiomyopathy: This condition occurs when heart blood vessels are narrow and become blocked, and the heart can no longer pump blood to the rest of your body. This condition deprives the heart muscle of oxygen.
Noncompaction cardiomyopathy: This condition is also called spongiform Cardio-myopathy, a rare disease present at birth from abnormal heart muscle development in the womb.
There might be no signs or symptoms at the early stages of Cardiomyopathy. But as the condition advances, some signs and symptoms appear, including:
- Breathlessness with activity and at rest
- Swelling of the legs, ankles, and feet
- Bloating of the abdomen
- Cough while lying down
- Difficulty lying flat to sleep
- Rapid heartbeats
- Chest discomfort or pressure
The condition may get worse quickly in some people, while it might not worsen for a long time in others. Seek immediate medical attention if you have severe difficulty breathing, fainting, or chest pain that lasts for more than a few minutes.
What causes Heart Muscle Disease?
The cause of the Cardiomyopathy is unknown. However, it results from another condition (acquired) or passed on from a parent in some people.
Some several conditions or behaviors can lead to Cardiomyopathy, including:
- Amyloidosis, abnormal proteins in the organs
- Consume of cocaine, amphetamines, or anabolic steroids
- COVID-19 infection
- Certain infections
- Connective tissue disorders
- Dietary and lifestyle factors
- Drinking too much alcohol over many years
- Heart tissue damage from a heart attack
- Granulomas in any part of your body, including your heart and lungs (sarcoidosis)
- Heart valve problems
- HIV treatments
- Iron buildup in your heart muscle (hemochromatosis)
- Metabolic disorders, such as obesity, thyroid disease, or diabetes
- Lack of essential vitamins or minerals in your diet, such as vitamin B-1
- Long-term high blood pressure
- Long-term of rapid heart rate
- Pregnancy complications
- Some chemotherapy drugs and radiation to treat cancer
How is Heart Muscle Disease Treated?
Medical treatment can help prevent heart failure or other complications. Treatments might include medications, surgically implanted devices, heart surgery, or, in severe cases, a heart transplant.
Treatment varies depending on how damaged your heart is. You can not reverse or cure Cardiomyopathy, but you can control it with some of the following options:
- Healthy lifestyle changes
- Medications to treat high blood pressure, prevent water retention, keep the heart beating with a regular rhythm, prevent blood clots, and reduce inflammation
- Surgically implanted devices, like pacemakers and defibrillators
- Heart transplant
The ultimate goal of treatment is to prevent further damage and loss of function. And help your heart to work as efficiently as possible.
In many cases, you can help reduce your risk of Cardiomyopathy by making healthy lifestyle choices such as:
- Avoid drinking alcohol and consume cocaine
- Control high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes
- Eat a healthy diet
- Get regular exercise
- Get enough sleep
- Reduce your stress