Everything about Cardiomyopathy: Achievable Tips for Managing Your Heart Health

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Cardiomyopathy, Types of cardiomyopathies, Causes and Symptoms, Precautions and Tips to Prevent

Cardiomyopathy is a comprehensive term encompassing various heart diseases where the heart muscle, myocardium weakens, leading to impaired heart function. This condition may arise because of thinned or abnormally thickened heart muscles, causing difficulties in effective blood pumping by the ventricles. As a consequence, blood stagnation may occur, raising the risk of clot formation. Severe conditions like strokes or pulmonary embolisms can be triggered if such clots are released into circulation and it lodges into an artery.

Causes of Cardiomyopathy

The most common causes are mentioned below-

  • Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle typically triggered by a viral infection or chronic inflammatory conditions like lupus.
  • Coronary artery disease is the build-up of cholesterol-filled plaque in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. This can further weaken the heart muscle by limiting blood flow to essential areas of the heart. 
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, it can also be inherited through this condition, characterized by the thickening of the heart muscle, particularly the wall between the ventricles. Mutations in the sarcomere genes are the main reason why hypertrophic cardiomyopathy develops. The proteins generated by these genes enable the correct contraction and relaxation of the heart muscle. However, a genetic mutation might change a gene’s normal function, leading to the development of this cardiac ailment.
  • Alcoholic cardiomyopathy, often known as binge drinking, can be brought on by a lifetime of heavy drinking or by the accumulation of everyday heavy drinking.

Types of Cardiomyopathies

  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) – This is often known as “enlarged heart“, develops when your heart muscle enlarges, or dilates, and may be too frail to effectively pump blood.
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) – In this condition, your heart walls thicken and block blood flow through your heart. Your heart will become more rigid, which will raise the possibility of electrical issues.
  • Restrictive Cardiomyopathy (RCM) – When the ventricles harden and are unable to relax enough to fill with blood, restrictive cardiomyopathy develops. Possible causes include heart disease, heart scarring, and cardiac amyloid, which typically develops following a heart transplant.
  • Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC) – The right ventricle’s muscle is replaced by fat and additional fibrous tissue in this particular hereditary cardiomyopathy. This results in faulty right ventricular function and irregular cardiac rhythms. Although it is a fairly uncommon type of cardiomyopathy, it is the main reason for unexpected death in young sportsmen.

Symptoms of Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy does not always cause symptoms, especially in the early stages of the illness. Swollen ankles and feet, fatigue, and shortness of breath are common indications and symptoms of heart failure when cardiomyopathy deteriorates. Chest pain, heart murmurs, an irregular heartbeat and lightheadedness are possible additional indications.

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important that you contact your doctor as soon as possible. If your doctor suspects you have a condition related to your heart, they may refer you to a cardiologist.

Precautions for Cardiomyopathy

Even if your family has no history of such ailment, you should still take precautions to avoid developing a cardiac disorder or disease that could raise your chance of developing cardiomyopathy.

The actions you can take to reduce your risk include the following:

  • Exercising on a regular basis – Limit your daily sitting time and make it a point to exercise for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.
  • Getting sufficient rest – Lack of sleep is associated with a higher risk of heart disease. Sleep every night for at least 7 to 8 hours.
  • Heart-healthy diet – Limit your consumption of processed, fried, fatty, and sugary foods. Instead, place an emphasis on fresh produce, whole grains, lean proteins, nuts, seeds, and low-fat dairy. Reduce your salt (sodium) intake as well because this can increase your risk of high blood pressure. For more detailed diet, you can read here.
  • Lowering your level of stress – When it’s possible, try to discover healthy strategies to reduce your stress. You might wish to think about engaging in regular brisk walking, deep breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, listening to music, or conversations with close friends.
  • Abstain from smoking – Smoking can harm your heart, blood, and blood vessels as well as the rest of your cardiovascular system.
  • Addressing underlying medical issues – Control and manage any underlying medical disorders that could increase your risk of cardiomyopathy in close consultation with your doctor.

Making lifestyle adjustments is crucial if you have cardiomyopathy and you want to enhance your heart health.

Tips for maintaining exercise routine

One of the biggest challenges is sticking with a regular exercise program for maintaining a moderate weight and prolonging heart function. However, we’ve got you covered with these five invaluable tips to help you stay committed to your exercise routine and prioritize your heart health.

  • Embrace the Present – Forget about missed workouts and focus on the constructive actions you can take right now. You have the chance to resume your fitness goals today since it is a brand-new day. 
  • Record Your Journey – Boost your motivation by recording your workouts on camera. In addition to not feeling alone, seeing yourself in action enables you to evaluate your form and make corrections. You will be eager to take on your next workout as you observe your development over time.
  • Find a Partner – In order to follow our routines, we all occasionally need that extra push. Get a friend or partner to help you out and join you on your workouts. Exercise can be more fun when you have a buddy along for the ride, and having a buddy can also give you the push you need when you’re feeling lazy.
  • Track Your Progress – Be responsible for your actions by keeping a fitness notebook or logging your daily activity in a convenient app. 

It’s time to take charge of your heart health and embrace an active lifestyle with enthusiasm and dedication.

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