Cardiomyopathy refers to the medical condition of the heart in which the heart muscle enlarges and becomes thick or rigid. In rare cases, the muscle tissue inside the heart gets replaced by the scar tissue. Typically, cardiomyupathy is a group of diseases that are related to the heart muscle and each type has different causes, symptoms as well as treatments.
The main types of cardiomyopathy are as follows:
• Dilated cardiomyopathy: this type of cardiomyopathy affects the ventricles of the heart and atria i.e. the lower and upper chambers of the heart. This type of cardiomyopathy starts in the left ventricle, which is the main pumping chamber of the heart. In this medical condition, the muscle of the heart starts to dilate, causing the inside of the chamber to become bigger. This problem often develops and spreads to the right ventricle and finally to the atria with the development of the disease. As the heart muscle becomes wider, it fails to contract normally and fails to pump blood effectively. Over time, the heart becomes weaker and this may result in heart failure.
• Restrictive cardiomyopathy: this medication condition affects only the older adults. It causes the ventricles to become rigid and stiff because of abnormal tissue being replaced for normal heart muscle. The ventricles, as a result, cannot relax normally and begin to fill with blood and the atria enlarge. The blood flow to the heart gets reduced overtime and this leads to problems related to arrhythmias and heart failure.
• Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: this is a very common type of cardiomyopathy that affects people of any age irrespective of the gender. HCM is one of the most common causes of sudden cardiac arrest in young people. It happens when the heart muscle cells enlarge and the walls of the ventricles thicken. Even though the thickening of walls of ventricles does not really cause the ventricles to become bigger, but it may restrict blood flow out of the ventricle. If there is any blockage in the supply of blood, the ventricle must work harder to pump blood. This may trigger symptoms such as dizziness, chest pain, vertigo and shortness of breath.
• Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia: is a rare form of cardiomyopathy that occurs when the muscle tissue in the right ventricle dies and is replaced by scar tissue. This medical condition of the heart disrupts the electrical signals and triggers arrhythmias. Some of the symptoms of arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia include palpitations, fluttering, and heart skipping a beat, beating too fast or too hard. It usually affects young adults or teens.
Some people who suffer from cardiomyopathy tend to have absolutely no sign or symptom of the disease and therefore, do not avail treatment, which further worsens their condition. It is important to visit the doctor for routine check-ups to rule out any underlying medical condition.
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