Cardiomyopathy is a general term for heart disease. The three main types of cardiomyopathy are:
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, when the walls of the heart thicken
- Restrictive cardiomyopathy, when the ventricles (lower heart chambers) become rigid and stiff
- Dilated cardiomyopathy, when the ventricles enlarge or dilate, and weaken
Are you concerned about your heart health? Cardiologists and specialists at Dignity Health Southern California offer our expertise and personal care for cardiovascular conditions, including cardiomyopathy, at one of our convenient locations in Long Beach, Northridge, Downtown LA, Glendale, and San Bernardino. Find a Doctor today.
In the early stages of cardiomyopathy, people may not notice any symptoms. As the disease progresses, most people start to experience some symptoms of heart failure, such as:
- Swelling in the feet, ankles, legs, belly, and veins in the neck
- Shortness of breath
- Coughing when lying down
- Abnormal heartbeats
Seek immediate medical attention or dial 911 if you experience severe difficulty breathing, fainting, or chest pain.
Causes of Cardiomyopathy
The cause of cardiomyopathy varies by the type:
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is typically inherited from a parent, however it can also be caused by an underlying medical condition. At times, the cause of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is not known.
- Restrictive cardiomyopathy is caused by an underlying disease or condition, including hemochromatosis, connective tissue disorders, amyloidosis, sarcoidosis, and some cancer treatments.
- Dilated cardiomyopathy About one-third of people with dilated cardiomyopathy inherit the condition from a parent. Other causes include high blood pressure, heart attack, thyroid disease, diabetes, coronary artery disease, infections, toxins, alcohol, and certain drugs. However, the cause of dilated cardiomyopathy is often unknown.
Your doctor at Dignity Health Southern California will determine whether your cardiomyopathy is a component of a larger (systemic) medical problem or if it is restricted to your heart alone. Your risk factors, medical and health history, physical exam, and diagnostic tests will help us diagnose cardiomyopathy. These tests may include:
- Blood tests to gather information about your heart and rule out other conditions
- Chest X-ray to see the size of your heart and check for fluid buildup in your lungs
- EKG (electrocardiogram), a painless test to show the rate and rhythm of your heartbeat
- Echocardiogram, an imaging test to create pictures of your moving heart and valves
- Stress test to show whether your heart can tolerate increased work
- Cardiac catheterization, which uses X-ray guidance to look inside your heart and coronary arteries
Treating Cardiomyopathy at Dignity Health Southern California
Some people without symptoms may not need treatment. When it’s necessary, your treatment will depend on the type and severity of cardiomyopathy. You doctor will discuss your treatment plan with you, which may involve lifestyle changes, medications, medical procedures, or surgery.
Your treatment goals include:
- Relieving symptoms
- Managing conditions that cause cardiomyopathy
- Slowing or stopping the progression of cardiomyopathy
- Helping you live as normally as possible
- Preventing complications
Make an appointment at Dignity Health Southern California to learn about your heart health today.
Dignity Health is dedicated to providing complete care for cardiomyopathy in Southern California.