Cardiomyopathy can lead to heart failure and related disability

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine Comments Off

The condition does not show any signs or symptoms in the early stages and is a major cause of sudden cardiac death

New Delhi, 06th April 2018: Four in ten cardiomyopathies – a major cause of sudden cardiac death and heart failure in young people – are genetic, according to a study. People with cardiomyopathy usually experience no signs or symptoms in the early stages of the disease. It usually occurs later as the heart weakens. With proper lifestyle modification, one can lower the risk for diseases or conditions that may lead to or complicate cardiomyopathy.

Cardiomyopathy is a progressive disease of the myocardium, the heart muscle. The condition is either confined to the heart or is part of generalized systemic disorders. They often lead to cardiovascular death or progressive heart failure-related disability.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Immediate Past National President Indian Medical Association (IMA), said, “In people with cardiomyopathy, the heart muscle either becomes enlarged, thick or rigid. In rare cases, the muscle tissue is replaced with a scar tissue. Some of the main types of this condition are dilated, hypertrophic, restrictive cardiomyopathy, and arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia. Some other types include ‘unclassified cardiomyopathy’ and ‘stress-induced cardiomyopathy’, also known as broken heart syndrome. The signs and symptoms of this condition can get worse unless treated. In some people, it worsens quickly and in others, it might not for a long time.”

Some symptoms of cardiomyopathy include shortness of breath, fatigue, and light-headedness or dizziness, edema or swelling in the ankles, feet, legs, abdomen, and veins in the neck, fainting attacks during physical activity, arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats), and chest pain, especially after physical exertion or heavy meals.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “People with cardiomyopathy should obtain medical advice before performing any kind of physical activities. Implanted devices help the heart work better and the goal of treatment is to help the heart be as efficient as possible, apart from preventing further damage and loss of function. Heart transplant is considered as a last resort treatment for people whose condition has become so severe that all treatments have failed.”

People with cardiomyopathy are given medicines such as ACE inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers, beta blockers, and calcium channel blockers to lower the blood pressure. Beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, and digoxin help in decreasing the heart rate.

Some HCFI tips to follow.

• Consume a healthy diet and include a variety of fruits, vegetables and grains. Have foods that are low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol.

• Reduce your salt intake. It is also advisable to quit smoking and consumption of alcohol.

• Reduce stress by sleeping well and getting good rest.

• Take proper measures to treat conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.