- Cardiomyopathy is a family of diseases that affect the heart muscle: ‘cardio’ means heart, ‘myo’ means muscle and ‘pathy’ means disease. It isn’t a single condition, but a group of conditions that affect the structure of the heart and reduce its ability to pump blood around the body.
- Cardiomyopathy can have a number of different causes depending on the type of cardiomyopathy. However, in many cases it is a genetic condition that can be passed down through families.
- Cardiomyopathy can make your heart stiffen, enlarge or thicken and can cause scar tissue. As a result, your heart can’t pump blood effectively to the rest of your body.
- The most common types of cardiomyopathy are:
- Dilated cardiomyopathy: Your heart’s blood-pumping chambers enlarge (dilate).
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: Your heart muscle thickens.
- Arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy (ACM): Disease in your heart muscle causes irregular heart rhythms.
- Treatment for cardiomyopathy may include medications, lifestyle changes or surgery. Although there is no cure for cardiomyopathy, you can manage the condition. People who receive treatment can live a high quality of life with cardiomyopathy.
Know The Symptoms of Cardiomyopathy
Some people living with cardiomyopathy never have signs or symptoms, while others don’t have signs or symptoms in the early stages of the disease. Common symptoms of cardiomyopathy include:
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling in the ankles, feet, legs and abdomen
- Fainting during physical activity
- Arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats)
- Chest pain, especially after physical exertion
- Heart murmurs
Speak to your doctor if you’re feeling exhausted, out of breath, dizzy or have palpitations, chest pain, or swelling in the ankles, feet, legs or abdomen; and tell your doctor about your family’s history of heart disease or sudden unexplained death, because cardiomyopathy often runs in families and it’s important to protect loved ones who may not have any symptoms.
If you think that something is not right, seek help and get to the heart of it.
Heart Support Australia Peer Support Groups
If you or someone you know has experienced a heart event or received a cardiac-related diagnosis and would like to join one of our peer support groups, either in person or via Zoom for support, information and encouragement, please feel welcome to contact us via the details below:
P: 02 6253 0097
Click here to read more about our peer support groups.