DILATED CARDIOMYOPATHY (DCM)
Dilated cardiomyopathy occurs when there is an enlargement of the heart’s main pumping chamber (the left ventricle). As the disease gets worse, it often spreads to the right ventricle and atria.
This causes the heart to lose its ability to contract. It occurs mostly in adults between the ages of 20 to 60 years old and affects men more often than women. Some types of dilated cardiomyopathy are reversible with treatment while others are irreversible.
The cause of dilated cardiomyopathy is often unknown. Nevertheless certain risk factors can make a person susceptible to dilated cardiomyopathy. They include genetics, alcohol, congenital heart disease, certain chemotherapy drugs, heart attack, thyroid disease, cocaine, diabetes, HIV, viral hepatitis, viral myocarditis, unmanaged high blood pressure, autoimmune disease, complications in the late stage of pregnancy and complications shortly after birth.
The symptoms of Dilated Cardiomyopathy are heart murmur, cough, fainting, congestion, dizziness, fatigue, unexpected weight gain, palpitations, swollen legs and feet and shortness of breath.
Some of the complications involved are fluid retention, heart failure, abnormal heart rhythms, chest pain, heart attack, stroke, blood clot in the heart, sudden cardiac arrest and heart valve disease.
Dilated Cardiomyopathy can be diagnosed with blood tests to detect infections and autoimmune disease. Genetic testing and biopsy can also be done.
Treatment of Dilated cardiomyopathy involves medications, lifestyle changes, implantable devices, surgery and heart transplants.
Dilated cardiomyopathy can be prevented by avoiding cocaine and alcohol, managing diabetes and high blood pressure and by maintaining a healthy weight.
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