Cardiomyopathy - Symptoms, causes and treatment

Table of contents:

Cardiomyopathy - Symptoms, causes and treatment
Cardiomyopathy - Symptoms, causes and treatment

Cardiomyopathy is a disease caused by abnormalities in the heart muscle. Cardiomyopathy will cause a reduced ability of the heart to pump blood. Symptoms of cardiomyopathy can vary, ranging from easy fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, to chest pain

The cause of cardiomyopathy is often not known with certainty. However, this condition can be related to certain genetic disorders or diseases. The disease that often triggers cardiomyopathy in adults is chronic hypertension, namely high blood pressure that has been going on for a long time.

Cardiomyopathy - alodokter

Cardiomyopathy Causes

Based on the cause, cardiomyopathy or weak heart is divided into 4 types, namely:

Dilated cardiomyopathy

Dilated cardiomyopathy is the most common type of cardiomyopathy. This condition occurs because the left ventricle of the heart enlarges and widens, so that part of the heart cannot pump blood throughout the body optimally. This type of heart muscle disorder can occur in pregnant women or after childbirth (peripartum cardiomyopathy).

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is caused by abnormal thickening of the walls and muscles of the heart. This abnormal thickening often occurs in the walls of the left ventricle of the heart. Thickened heart walls make it harder for the heart to pump blood normally.

Restrictive cardiomyopathy

Restrictive cardiomyopathy occurs when the heart muscle becomes stiff and inelastic. This condition results in the heart not being able to expand and accommodate blood properly, resulting in obstruction of blood flow to the heart.

Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC)

This cardiomyopathy occurs due to scar tissue in the muscle of the right ventricle of the heart. This condition can cause the heart rate to become irregular. This type of cardiomyopathy is thought to be caused by a genetic disorder.

Cardiomyopathy Risk Factors

There are several things that can increase the risk of cardiomyopathy, namely:

  • Suffering from chronic hypertension
  • Has a family history of cardiomyopathy
  • Suffering from thyroid disease or diabetes
  • Have had a heart attack, coronary heart disease, or infection of the heart
  • Being obese
  • Experiencing vitamin and mineral deficiency
  • Has a habit of drinking excessive amounts of alcohol
  • Abuse of drugs, such as cocaine, amphetamines, and anabolic steroids
  • Has a history of chemotherapy or radiotherapy
  • Has a history of hemochromatosis, amyloidosis, or sarcoidosis

Cardiomyopathy Symptoms

Cardiomyopathy at first rarely causes symptoms. Symptoms will appear and develop along with a decrease in the performance of the heart in pumping blood. Some of the symptoms that can appear are:

  • Shortness of breath, especially after strenuous physical activity
  • Leg swelling (leg edema)
  • Easy to get tired and tired
  • chest pain
  • Dizzy
  • irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
  • Difficulty vision
  • Heart palpitations (palpitations)
  • Cough especially when sleeping on back

When to see a doctor

Immediately check with a doctor if you feel the symptoms mentioned above. See a doctor immediately if you have difficulty breathing, chest pain, headache, or fainting.

If you have conditions that can increase your risk of developing cardiomyopathy, such as hypertension, check with your doctor regularly to prevent cardiomyopathy.

Cardiomyopathy Diagnosis

To diagnose cardiomyopathy, the doctor will ask about the symptoms experienced as well as the patient's and family's medical history. After that, the doctor will perform a physical examination, including an examination of the chest wall.

To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor will perform several follow-up examinations below:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG), to detect the electrical activity of the heart and assess the presence or absence of heart rhythm abnormalities
  • Echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart), to examine the structure and function of the heart, including assessing the condition of the heart valves
  • Treadmill stress test, to monitor heart rhythm when the body is under stress due to heavy physical activity
  • Scan with chest X-ray, CT Scan, or MRI, to see the condition of the heart, including the presence or absence of enlargement of the size of the heart (cardiomegaly)

In addition, patients can undergo blood tests to check the function of the liver, kidneys, thyroid gland, and to measure iron levels in the blood. Patients can also undergo genetic testing if their family members have a history of cardiomyopathy.

Cardiomyopathy Treatment

Cardiomyopathy treatment depends on the symptoms as well as the severity of the patient's condition. The focus of treatment for this disease is to relieve symptoms and prevent complications.

Patients with mild cardiomyopathy who have not experienced any symptoms are recommended to adopt a he althy lifestyle, such as:

  • Maintaining ideal body weight
  • Consuming nutritious food
  • Reduce drinking coffee or caffeinated drinks
  • Quit smoking
  • Manage stress well
  • Managing sleep and rest time
  • Exercise regularly
  • Restricting consumption of alcoholic beverages

If cardiomyopathy is already causing symptoms, the doctor can give the patient several types of drugs below:

  • Antiarrhythmic drugs, to regulate the heartbeat and prevent arrhythmias
  • Antihypertensive drugs, to maintain and manage blood pressure
  • Anticoagulant drugs or blood-thinning medications, to prevent blood clots from forming that can worsen cardiomyopathy
  • Aldosterone blocking drugs, to balance mineral levels in the body so that muscle and nerve tissue in the heart can work properly
  • Diuretic drugs, to reduce fluid buildup from the body

If medication is not able to relieve symptoms of cardiomyopathy that is too severe, the patient can undergo heart surgery. Types of operations performed include:


This method is done by placing a device under the skin of the chest or abdomen that functions to conduct impulses or electricity to control the artmia.

Myectomy Operation

Myectomy surgery is done by removing some of the abnormal heart muscle tissue. This is so that the heart can pump blood normally. Myectomy surgery is performed on patients with very severe hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Heart transplant

This procedure is the last treatment option when all treatment procedures are not effective for treating cardiomyopathy. Heart transplantation is also a treatment option in end-stage heart failure. The heart of a patient undergoing a transplant will be replaced with a he althy heart from a donor.

Cardiomyopathy Complications

Cardiomyopathy can lead to serious complications if not diagnosed and treated properly. Some of the complications that can arise are:

  • Heart failure
  • Blood clot
  • Heart valve disorders
  • Sudden cardiac arrest

Cardiomyopathy Prevention

If the cause is genetic, cardiomyopathy cannot be prevented. However, in general, the risk of cardiomyopathy and other heart diseases can be reduced by adopting a he althy lifestyle, such as:

  • Lose weight if you are obese
  • Doing regular exercise
  • Quit smoking habit
  • Reduce consumption of alcoholic beverages
  • Enough sleep and rest
  • Consuming he althy and balanced nutrition
  • Manage stress well
  • Do regular check-ups to control diseases that can increase the risk of cardiomyopathy, such as hypertension, diabetes, or thyroid disease

Inform your doctor if you have a history of cardiomyopathy in your family, so that the doctor can monitor and provide early treatment if you experience it. That way, your cardiomyopathy won't get worse and cause complications.

Popular topic