Cardiomyopathy: what is it, what are the causes and what risk factors does it have?

Cardiomyopathy: what is it, what are the causes and what risk factors does it have?

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Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle that makes it harder for the heart to pump blood to different parts of the body. The Mayo Clinic research institute assures that it is a condition that can cause heart failure.

There are several types of this disease: dilated, hypertrophic and restrictive, and the treatment that the person receives, which may include medicationssurgically implanted devices, heart surgery, or, in severe cases, a heart transplant, depends on the type of cardiomyopathy and its severity.

The University Clinic of Navarra (CUN) indicates that dilated is the most frequent and is characterized by progressive dilation and loss of the ability of the myocardium to contract. This means that situations such as heart failure, a feeling of suffocation and edema can occur.

In the case of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, it is caused by an excessive growth of the ventricular muscle or of localized portions of it. “This hypertrophy determines a deficient relaxation of the ventricle which, although it is capable of contracting strongly, is not capable of relaxing and therefore fills poorly, appearing the symptoms of heart failure”, specifies the CUN.

Regarding the restrictive, according to experts, it is the one that occurs less frequently and has rare characteristics. It is characterized by poor relaxation of the ventricle, which causes heart failure due to the impossibility of filling the ventricles.

In general, cardiomyopathies do not present signs in their beginnings, but the signs or symptoms become evident as the condition progresses. Some of them, according to the Mayo Clinic, are: shortness of breath when doing physical activity or even when resting, swelling in the legs, ankles and feet, in the abdomen due to the accumulation of fluid, cough when lying down, difficulty sleeping in a horizontal position and fatigue.

Heartbeats that feel fast, pounding or fluttering, chest discomfort or pressure, and dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting may also occur. According to experts, the symptoms tend to worsen if left untreated. In some people, the condition worsens quickly, while in others it can take long periods of time.

Causes

Although the causes of this condition are often unknown, in some people it is the result of another condition or is hereditary.

Specialists say that some behaviors or medical conditions that can cause cardiomyopathy include, for example, high blood pressure over long periods of time, damage to heart tissue from a heart attack, heart valve problems, certain infections, etc. especially those that cause inflammation of the heart and metabolic disorders, such as obesity, thyroid disease or diabetes.

Lack of essential vitamins or minerals, such as thiamin (vitamin B1), complications in pregnancy, accumulation of iron in the heart muscle (hemochromatosis), connective tissue disorders, excessive alcohol consumption over many years or cocaine, amphetamines or anabolic steroids, and use of some chemotherapy drugs and radiation to treat cancer.

Some of the risk factors are family history of heart disease, sudden cardiac death or cardiomyopathy, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, viral infections of the heart, diabetes, alcohol use disorder and, depending on the specialized medium Medical News Todaysome women may be at increased risk of cardiomyopathy after pregnancy.

Changes in lifestyle

One of the best ways to prevent or slow the progression of these conditions is lifestyle changes, which may include a healthy diet, which involves limiting your intake of trans fat, saturated fat, added sugar, and salt.

It is also important to control stress, stop smoking and stay physically active by practicing an activity that can be beneficial for the heart, so the ideal is to consult a specialist in order to determine which is the most appropriate depending on the condition of the heart. patient.


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