Cardiomyopathy is a term that refers to any disease of the heart muscle and damage to the heart, resulting in its inability to pump adequate blood to the body. There are different types of cardiomyopathy depending on the cause of the damage to the heart. Some examples of causes of cardiomyopathy include coronary artery disease, alcohol abuse, and genetic conditions. Cardiomyopathy can ultimately cause heart failure.
With cardiomyopathy, the heart is usually enlarged, thickened, or stiffened. In some cases, the pumping chambers of the heart are abnormally dilated. Signs and symptoms result from decreased heart function and can include palpitations or a fast heart rate, chest pain, shortness of breath including coughing, fainting or dizziness, fatigue, and swollen extremities.
Causes of cardiomyopathy
Alcoholism, diabetes, coronary artery disease, thyroid disease, heart valve abnormalities, viral infections of the heart, drugs that cause damage to the heart, genetic conditions, high blood pressure, aging, buildup of scar tissue, amyloidosis, chemotherapy, chest exposure to radiation, hemochromatosis, and sarcoidosis can cause cardiomyopathy.
Other cardiomyopathy symptoms and signs
- Chest Pain
- Inability to Exercise
- Poor Appetite
- Shortness of Breath (Dyspnea)
- Sudden Death
- Swelling of the Legs and Feet
- Swollen Extremities
- Weight Gain
Main Article on Cardiomyopathy Symptoms and Signs
IMAGESBrowse through our medical image collection to see illustrations of human anatomy and physiology See Images
Pictures, Images, Illustrations & Quizzes
Heart Disease Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
Take our Heart Disease Quiz to get answers and facts about high cholesterol, atherosclerosis prevention, and the causes,...
Heart Disease: Causes of a Heart Attack
Heart disease prevention includes controlling risk factors like diet, exercise, and stress. Heart disease symptoms in women may...
Heart Disease: Symptoms, Signs, and Causes
What is heart disease (coronary artery disease)? Learn about the causes of heart disease. Symptoms of heart disease include chest...
Picture of Heart
The muscle that pumps blood received from veins into arteries throughout the body. See a picture of the Heart and learn more...
Picture of Heart Detail
The heart is composed of specialized cardiac muscle, and it is four-chambered, with a right atrium and ventricle, and an...