Cardiomyopathy is a heart disease that weakens the muscles in your heart making it more difficult for it to pump blood efficiently around your body.
Symptoms of cardiomyopathy can include:
- Dizziness or lightheaded feeling
- Swelling of the lower limbs
- Breathlessness – at rest or with activity
- Fluid retention causing bloating of the abdomen
There are three types of cardiomyopathy:
- Hypertrophic – a genetic condition (passed on through family members) that causes the heart muscle to thicken. Thickening and scarring of the muscle means higher blood pressure is need to pump blood.
- Dilated - a genetic condition (passed on through family members) where the left ventricle (lower chamber) of your heart becomes weak, thin or floppy meaning this area is unable to pump blood efficiently.
- Restricted – a condition where the walls of the ventricles (lower chambers) in your heart become stiff so they cannot expand and fill with blood.
Left untreated cardiomyopathy can result in serious problems including heart failure, blood clots, heart valve problems and cardiac arrest. You should seek medical advice if you experience any of the symptoms or you are aware of a family history of cardiomyopathy.
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