Causes of Dilated Cardiomyopathy means heart muscles are weakened or have a structural issue. Dilated cardiomyopathy is a heart condition where the left ventricle enlarges and becomes weak resulting in strain while the blood is pumped out to the body. Dilated cardiomyopathy is the most common type of heart condition, however, it can also be a result of an underlying cause. Because of dilated cardiomyopathy, other organs like the lungs, liver, and kidneys also get affected.
Certain symptoms may indicate cardiomyopathy like:
- Breathlessness when active or inactive
- Unable to exercise at the same pace as before
- Swelling in legs
- Swelling of abdomen
- Chest pain
- Heart murmurs
- Sudden Weight gain
- Abnormal heart rhythm
- Blood clots
When noticing two or more of these symptoms more often, it is suggested to get medical attention immediately as sometimes it can be fatal. If you are aware that a family member or there is a family history of dilated cardiomyopathy, then visiting a doctor for a regular check-up is advised. If any such symptoms indicate dilated cardiomyopathy necessary steps can be taken towards care to avoid or improve health.
There are no known specific causes that result in dilated cardiomyopathy and are called idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, however, studies have shown that the major reason is a family history of dilated cardiomyopathy. Various underlying health issues can lead to dilated cardiomyopathy, which is listed as causes in many studies, they are:
- Coronary heart diseases cause any kind of blockages. In such situations, there is excess pressure put on the heart to pump blood.
- Heart attack
- Blood pressure issues, diabetes
- Alcohol abuse
- Drug usage like cocaine
- Medications for diseases like cancer
- Infections caused by bacteria, fungi, the virus also cause dilated cardiomyopathy
- Exposure to toxic substances like lead and mercury
- Heart valve abnormalities
- Autoimmune illness
- Family history
- During or after pregnancy
These are some of the causes or underlying issues that result in dilated cardiomyopathy, however, these causes are not as common as family history, where dilated cardiomyopathy is passed down to the next generation. This condition is called familial dilated cardiomyopathy.
In the same way, there are various kinds of dilated cardiomyopathy based on the cause namely, alcoholic cardiomyopathy, congestive cardiomyopathy, diabetic cardiomyopathy, ischemic cardiomyopathy (coronary heart disease), peripartum cardiomyopathy (due to pregnancy), and primary cardiomyopathy.
Diagnosis and Treatment
When diagnosing for dilated cardiomyopathy medical professionals will look for any kind of medical history, will perform physical exams, order for one or more imaging ultrasounds like an electrocardiogram, chest X-ray, MRI, CT scans, stress tests, echocardiography, and cardiac catheterization. If necessary in certain cases the doctor may even perform a myocardial biopsy to extract small tissues from the heart to identify the cause of dilated cardiomyopathy.
The treatment for dilated cardiomyopathy depends on the type and severity of the situation. Many times medication and lifestyle changes help the patient treat dilated cardiomyopathy. At times surgeries can be required to perform to treat valve diseases, treat the scarred tissues after a heart attack, or perform a heart transplant. And at the time the patient might even require devices to be planted in them for their heart to work normally.
Certain complications are involved with dilated cardiomyopathy condition, they are – heart failure, fluid build-up, abnormal heart rhythm, sudden cardiac arrest, and blood clots. To avoid this condition one can only try to stay active, lead a healthy life, avoid alcohol and drug abuse and eat healthy diet food.