Cardiomyopathy (Dilated) (cont.)

What Causes DCM?

DCM can be inherited, but it is primarily caused by a variety of other factors, including:

  • Severe coronary artery disease
  • Alcoholism
  • Thyroid disease
  • Diabetes
  • Viral infections of the heart
  • Heart valve abnormalities
  • Drugs that are toxic (or cause damage) to the heart

It can also occur in women after childbirth (postpartum cardiomyopathy).

How Is DCM Diagnosed?

DCM is diagnosed based on medical history (your symptoms and family history), physical exam, blood tests, electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), chest X-ray, echocardiogram, exercise stress test, cardiac catheterization, CT scan, and MRI.

Another test rarely done to determine the cause of a cardiomyopathy is a myocardial biopsy, or heart biopsy, where a tissue sample is taken from the heart and examined under a microsope to determine the cause of the symptoms.

If you have a relative with dilated cardiomyopathy, ask your doctor if you should be screened for the condition. Genetic testing may also be available to identify abnormal genes.

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Dilated Cardiomyopathy - Causes Question: What did the doctor say about the cause of your dilated cardiomyopathy?