Dilated cardiomyopathy is a condition affecting the heart muscle in which it becomes stretched out and thin. It simply means that it could no longer pump blood around the body effectively. In addition, it is likely to run in families.
In some cases, dilated cardiomyopathy can be brought about by other factors such as:
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure
- Viral infections
- Heart valve issues
- Consumption of large amounts of alcohol
How it affects the heart
If an individual has dilated cardiomyopathy, the left ventricle of the heart becomes dilated. As an outcome, the heart muscle weakens, thins out and unable to pump blood throughout the body effectively.
This can result to the buildup of fluid in the lungs, abdomen, ankles and other organs in the body.
What are the indications?
In most cases of dilated cardiomyopathy, the condition develops in a slow manner. Some individuals end up with severe symptoms before properly diagnosed. The usual symptoms include the following:
- Shortness of breath
- Swollen ankles and abdomen
- Excessive fatigue
Even today, there is still no cure for dilated cardiomyopathy, but there are treatment options available to control the symptoms and prevent any complications from developing. The treatment depends on how the heart is affected and the symptoms present.
In some individuals, certain conditions can develop with dilated cardiomyopathy is present such as:
- Blood clots
- Chest pain
- Abnormal heart rhythms
The individual might require the following:
- Medications – aimed on controlling the blood pressure, erratic heart rhythms or other symptoms
- Pacemaker – controls the heart rate
- Implantable cardioverter defibrillator – this is vital if the individual is at risk for a dangerous erratic heart rhythm
It is important to note that dilated cardiomyopathy is a prevalent form. Based on studies conducted, proper treatment and follow-up should be observed so that an individual with the condition can lead a normal life.