What Causes Cardiomyopathy?
- In many cases of cardiomyopathy, the cause is unknown.
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy appears to run in families.
- Viral infections of the heart cause inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis) and may result in permanent damage to the muscle.
- Excess consumption of alcohol may be toxic to the heart muscle over time.
- Nutritional deficiencies (such as lack of thiamine) and hormone imbalances may damage and weaken the heart muscle.
- Amyloidosis, a disorder in which the walls of the heart are infiltrated by a waxy substance, may cause restrictive cardiomyopathy.
- The risk of developing cardiomyopathy increases with smoking, obesity, or hypertension.
- Advanced coronary artery disease may be a cause.
Symptoms of Cardiomyopathy
Often there are no symptoms until the disease’s advanced stages. These may include the following:
- Shortness of breath, especially during exertion
- Swelling of the feet, ankles, or hands (edema)
- Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting
- Wheezing and a dry cough, or a cough producing foamy, bloody phlegm
- Chest pain (may be mild)
- Stroke or painful and cold extremity due to a blood clot blocking a blood vessel
- Difficulty breathing, especially while lying down
- Abdominal bloating
Johns Hopkins Symptoms and Remedies: The Complete Home Medical Reference
Simeon Margolis, M.D., Ph.D., Medical Editor
Prepared by the Editors of The Johns Hopkins Medical Letter: Health After 50
Updated by Remedy Health Media