Causes of Cardiomyopathy

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What's Cardiomyopathy?

By definition, cardiomyopathy is a heart condition wherein the cardiac muscle fails to supply enough oxygen rich blood to suffice for the body’s need as well as for the removal of the waste carbon dioxide because of the heart muscle's weakening. The three kinds of cardiomyopathy are as follows: Dilated, Hypertrophic, and Restrictive cardiomyopathy. Though the particular cause of each type may depend and vary, these causes may enhance each one's ability to bring out the disease and eventually heighten the risks of obtaining one.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Dilated cardiomyopathy is the type of this disease in which the left ventricle enlarges or dilates, in which as a result it significantly hinders the heart's ability to effectively pump blood. Eventually, the heart muscle becomes weaker which further causes the blood to slow down and prevent an easy flow of blood through the heart.

Dilated cardiomyopathy is the most common type of cardiomyopathy with the following as known triggers which may increase the likelihood of procuring the disease:

  • Previous heart conditions like:

    • Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
    • Hypertension
    • Hemochromatosis (heart muscle iron buildup)
  • Prolonged heart muscle stress. Conditions such as:

1. Severe anemia

2. Rapid heart rates (abnormal tachycardias)

3. Thyroid irregularities such as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism

4. Leaky heart valves (regurgitant)

  • Family history. Cardiomyopathy can be passed through the bloodline.
  • Excess alcohol
  • Vitamin B-1 (thiamin), selenium, calcium and magnesium deficiencies.
  • Severe emotional or mental stress.
  • Narcotics and antidepressant abuse, especially the tricyclic antidepressants.
  • Chemotherapy and some cancer treatment drugs are linked to a higher probabilities of having dilated cardiomyopathy.
  • Viral heart muscle infections.
  • Even pregnancy in some cases.
  • Some cardiomyopathy cases are classified as “Idiopathic,” meaning with an unknown or currently unidentified cause.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the type of cardiomyopathy that is involved the unusual thickening of the heart muscle, significantly causing stiffening and shrinking of the heart’s pumping chamber.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is considered 'severe' because it significantly interferes with the normal heart functions and eventually lead to a shorter life expectancy. Primarily identified causes of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are gene defects. Though hypertension, and even aging may induce the disease. In some cases, they are again identified as idiopathic. This type is also hereditary.

Restrictive cardiomyopathy

Restrictive cardiomyopathy is the type that causes the heart muscle to become weakened, rigid, and less elastic, thereby the term 'restricted.' It procures on almost any age and is commonly identified as idiopathic, again with no known cause. However, certain studies have linked certain conditions such as sarcoidosis, amyloidosis, and hemochromatosis (excess iron in the heart) to a higher likelihood of having restrictive cardiomyopathy. Nevertheless it is assumed that this type is mostly hereditary.

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