heart monitorWhat is Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy is a heart disease that makes it harder for your heart to pump blood to the rest of your body. Cardiomyopathy can lead to heart failure. Cardiomyopathy can be dilated, hypertrophic, or restrictive. Cardiomyopathy can be treated with medications, surgically implanted devices, heart surgery, or a heart transplant. Types of cardiomyopathy include:

Dilated cardiomyopathy

The left ventricle (your heart’s main pumping chamber) becomes enlarged (dilated) and can’t effectively pump blood out of the heart. This is most likely to affect middle-aged men. It can be caused by coronary artery disease, heart attack, or genetic defects.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

Your heart muscle becomes abnormally thick, which makes it harder for the heart to work. This mostly affects the left ventricle. It can be developed at any age, but is more severe if it occurs during childhood. There is generally a genetic link or family history of the disease.

Restrictive cardiomyopathy

The heart muscle becomes stiff and less flexible, so it can’t expand and fill with blood between heartbeats. This is the least common type of cardiomyopathy and usually affects older people. It can occur for no known reason, or it can be caused by another disease in the body, such as amyloidosis, which can affect the heart.

Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia

The muscle in the lower right heart chamber (right ventricle) is replaced by scar tissue, which can lead to heart rhythm problems. It’s often caused by genetic mutations and is very rare.

Other types of cardiomyopathy may fall into a category called unclassified cardiomyopathy.


  • Some symptoms of cardiomyopathy include:
  • Breathlessness with activity or even at rest
  • Swelling of the legs, ankles and feet
  • Bloating of the abdomen due to fluid buildup
  • Cough while lying down
  • Difficulty lying flat to sleep
  • Fatigue
  • Heartbeats that feel rapid, pounding or fluttering
  • Chest discomfort or pressure
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness and fainting

Possible Causes

Some possible causes of cardiomyopathy may include:

  • Long-term high blood pressure
  • Heart tissue damage from a heart attack
  • Long-term rapid heart rate
  • Heart valve problems
  • COVID-19 infection
  • Certain infections, especially those that cause inflammation of the heart
  • Metabolic disorders, such as obesity, thyroid disease, or diabetes
  • Lack of essential vitamins or minerals in your diet, such as thiamin (vitamin B-1)
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Iron buildup in your heart muscle (hemochromatosis)
  • The growth of tiny lumps of inflammatory cells (granulomas) in any part of your body, including your heart and lungs (sarcoidosis)
  • The buildup of abnormal proteins in the organs (amyloidosis)
  • Connective tissue disorders
  • Alcohol misuse
  • Use of illicit substances like cocaine, amphetamines, or anabolic steroids
  • Use of some chemotherapy drugs and radiation to treat cancer

Risk Factors

Some risk factors of cardiomyopathy include:

  • Family history of cardiomyopathy, heart failure, and sudden cardiac arrest
  • Long-term high blood pressure
  • Heart attack, coronary artery disease or an infection in the heart (ischemic cardiomyopathy)
  • Obesity
  • Alcohol misuse
  • Use of illicit drugs like cocaine, amphetamines, and anabolic steroids
  • Treatment with certain chemotherapy drugs and radiation for cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid disease
  • Storage of excess iron in the body (hemochromatosis)
  • Amyloidosis
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Connective tissue disorders
  • Complications
  • An enlarged heart


Some potential complications from cardiomyopathy may include:

  • Heart failure
  • Blood clots
  • Heart valve problems
  • Cardiac arrest and sudden death


You can help reduce your risk of cardiomyopathy by:

  • Avoiding the use of alcohol or cocaine
  • Controlling high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Reducing your stress