Heart muscle disease, medically known as cardiomyopathy, is a medical condition in which the heart muscle becomes inflamed and is no longer able to work properly. There can be several possible causes of heart muscle disease, including viral infections, genetic medical conditions, or excessive alcohol consumption. There are three basic types of heart muscle disease, known as dilated, hypertrophic, and restrictive cardiomyopathy. Treatment varies according to the type of heart muscle disease and the specific symptoms present, but typical treatment methods include lifestyle changes, the use of prescription medications, or surgery.
Dilated cardiomyopathy, also referred to as congestive cardiomyopathy, is the most common type of heart muscle disease. This condition causes the heart muscle to become stretched and dilated. Symptoms include the formation of blood clots in the heart and the presence of abnormal heart rhythms. Treatment often involves the use of prescription medications aimed at regulating heart rhythms and thinning the blood to lessen the chances of new blood clots forming. In many cases, a heart transplant will eventually become necessary.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a type of heart muscle disease that causes the left ventricles of the heart to become enlarged, sometimes causing the blood blow to become obstructed. Common symptoms of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy include shortness of breath, chest pain, and fainting. Treatment typically involves the use of prescription medications known as beta blockers, although surgical intervention to repair heart damage may be possible in some situations.
Restrictive cardiomyopathy is a type of heart muscle disease in which the ventricles of the heart muscle become rigid, making it difficult for blood to flow to these ventricles properly between heartbeats. Symptoms may include a constant feeling of tiredness, difficulty breathing, or swollen hands or feet. Prescription medications may be used to treat individual symptoms, but the overall outlook for this type of heart muscle disease is poor, frequently requiring a heart transplant.
Ischemic cardiomyopathy.is a type of heart muscle disease that results from a condition known as coronary artery disease. Patients with this type of cardiomyopathy often have congestive heart failure. Symptoms may include chest pain, dizziness, and nausea. Prescription medications are typically used to treat individual symptoms, and a surgery called coronary artery bypass is often performed to try to improve blood flow. In many cases, an artificial device such as a pacemaker may be surgically implanted to help regulate the heartbeat.