literally means disease of the heart muscle.
Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart
leads to impairment of the heart's ability to pump
blood, and eventually to heart failure.
The name comes from the roots
myo meaning "muscle" and
pathy meaning "disease." The known causes
of cardiomyopathy are many, and include coronary
artery disease and valvular heart disease.
Cardiomyopathy occurs in three major types:
cardiomyopathy. This type involves
enlargement of one or more of your heart's
cardiomyopathy. This form involves
thickening of your heart's muscle.
cardiomyopathy. This type results in
your heart muscle becoming more rigid.
You can take steps to reduce your risk of
developing cardiomyopathy. If you have the
condition, treatment depends on what type you have
and may include medications, implantable devices or,
in severe cases, a heart transplant.
The causes of the common forms of cardiomyopathy include:
In people with this most common form of cardiomyopathy, one or more
of the heart chambers become enlarged (dilated) and their pumping
ability becomes less forceful. Although this type can affect people
of all ages, it occurs most often in middle-age people, with an
incidence greater among men than women. About one in five people
with dilated cardiomyopathy are believed to have inherited the
This type involves the abnormal growth or thickening of your heart
muscle, particularly affecting the muscle of the left ventricle, the
major pumping chamber of your heart. As thickening occurs, the heart
tends to stiffen and the size of the pumping chamber may shrink,
interfering with your heart's ability to deliver blood to your body.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is responsible for about 2 percent to 6
percent of all cases of cardiomyopathy. Although it can develop at
any age, it tends to occur most often between the ages of 20 and 40.
Researchers have identified abnormal genes that predispose people to
hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. More than half of affected people have
a family history of the disease.
The heart muscle in people with restrictive cardiomyopathy becomes
rigid and less elastic, interfering with the expansion and filling
of the heart's ventricles with blood between heartbeats or
contractions. While restrictive cardiomyopathy can occur at any age,
it tends to affect older people most often. It's much less common
than the other types of cardiomyopathy. Restrictive cardiomyopathy
can occur for no known reason (idiopathic) or may result from
abnormal proteins or cell products being deposited in the heart (amyloidosis).
In most people, the cause of cardiomyopathy is unknown. In some people,
however, doctors are able to identify a cause or contributing factors,
including some that affect the heart and cardiovascular system. For
example, any of the following conditions may cause or contribute to
damage from a previous heart attack
disorders, such as thyroid disease or diabetes
deficiencies of essential vitamins and minerals, such as thiamin
(vitamin B-1), selenium, calcium and magnesium
Excessive use of
alcohol over many years
Abuse of cocaine
or antidepressant medications, such as tricyclic antidepressants
Use of some
chemotherapeutic drugs to treat cancer
infections, which may injure the heart and trigger cardiomyopathy
Hemochromatosis is a disorder in which your body doesn't properly
metabolize iron, causing the accumulation of iron in your heart muscle.
This can lead to a weakening of the heart muscle, resulting in the
appearance of dilated cardiomyopathy.
An additional, rare type of cardiomyopathy called arrhythmogenic right
ventricular dysplasia (ARVD) results in muscle tissue in the right
ventricle being replaced by fat, triggering abnormal heart rhythms. In
many people there appears to be a genetic basis for ARVD.
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