Information for Patients
Cardiomyopathy is the name for diseases of the heart muscle. These diseases enlarge your heart muscle or make it thicker and more rigid than normal. In rare cases, scar tissue replaces the muscle tissue.
Some people live long, healthy lives with cardiomyopathy. Some people don't even realize they have it. In others, however, it can make the heart less able to pump blood through the body. This can cause serious complications, including
- Heart failure
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Heart valve problems
- Sudden cardiac arrest
Heart attacks, high blood pressure, infections, and other diseases can all cause cardiomyopathy. Some types of cardiomyopathy run in families. In many people, however, the cause is unknown. Treatment might involve medicines, surgery, other medical procedures, and lifestyle changes.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Familial dilated cardiomyopathy Familial dilated cardiomyopathy is a genetic form of heart disease. It occurs when heart (cardiac) muscle becomes thin and weakened in at least one chamber of the heart, causing the open area of the chamber to become enlarged (dilated). As a result, the heart is unable to pump blood as efficiently as usual. To compensate, the heart attempts to increase the amount of blood being pumped through the heart, leading to further thinning and weakening of the cardiac muscle. Over time, this condition results in heart failure.It usually takes many years for symptoms of familial dilated cardiomyopathy to cause health problems. They typically begin in mid-adulthood, but can occur at any time from infancy to late adulthood. Signs and symptoms of familial dilated cardiomyopathy can include an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), shortness of breath (dyspnea), extreme tiredness (fatigue), fainting episodes (syncope), and swelling of the legs and feet. In some cases, the first sign of the disorder is sudden cardiac death. The severity of the condition varies among affected individuals, even in members of the same family.
X-linked dilated cardiomyopathy X-linked dilated cardiomyopathy is a form of heart disease. Dilated cardiomyopathy enlarges and weakens the heart (cardiac) muscle, preventing the heart from pumping blood efficiently. Signs and symptoms of this condition can include an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), shortness of breath, extreme tiredness (fatigue), and swelling of the legs and feet. In males with X-linked dilated cardiomyopathy, heart problems usually develop early in life and worsen quickly, leading to heart failure in adolescence or early adulthood. In affected females, the condition appears later in life and worsens more slowly.X-linked dilated cardiomyopathy is part of a spectrum of related conditions caused by mutations in the DMD gene. The other conditions in the spectrum, Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy, are characterized by progressive weakness and wasting of muscles used for movement (skeletal muscles) in addition to heart disease. People with X-linked dilated cardiomyopathy typically do not have any skeletal muscle weakness or wasting, although they may have subtle changes in their skeletal muscle cells that are detectable through laboratory testing. Based on these skeletal muscle changes, X-linked dilated cardiomyopathy is sometimes classified as subclinical Becker muscular dystrophy.