Cardiomyopathy is a disease which causes the heart muscle to become enlarged, thickened or rigid. The cause of cardiomyopathy is often unknown; however, many believe genetics or previous and chronic heart disorders are contributing factors. Cardiomyopathy is not specific to any age group but it is more prevalent among adults.
This condition may lead to weakening of the heart, which makes it incapable of pumping sufficient blood throughout the body and maintaining a normal electrical rhythm.
The inability of the heart to function properly can potentially cause heart valve problems, heart failure and arrhythmias. Additional complications that can also occur include fluid build-up of the lungs, ankles, feet, legs and abdomen.
Symptoms of cardiomyopathy can vary. In the early stages of the disease, there may not be any symptoms but as the condition advances, they begin to appear. Some symptoms may include:
- Breathlessness with exertion or even at rest.
- Irregular heartbeats which are rapid, pounding or fluttering.
- Dizziness, lightheadedness and fainting.
Cardiomyopathy cannot be reversed or cured; it can be controlled with lifestyle changes and treated with medications such as diuretics, surgically implanted devices such as pacemakers and defibrillators. As a last resort heart transplant surgery may be recommended.
It is advised that you see your doctor if you have one or more of the symptoms associated with cardiomyopathy. You can contact Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Department of Cardiology at 718-206-7100 for an appointment and evaluation.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.