Q:

What is cardiomyopathy?

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Quick Answer

Cardiomyopathy occurs when the heart muscle weakens, making the heart unable to pump blood to various body parts, according to Healthline. It may occur from a heart attack and it is inheritable, notes WebMD.

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Full Answer

Changes in the heart muscle due to cardiomyopathy can lead to heart failure, causing the heart to be unable to pump blood normally. This action causes the body to receive insufficient amounts of oxygen, blood or nutrients. Cardiomyopathy can cause atrial fibrillation, a condition characterized by irregular heartbeats, states WebMD.

People with cardiomyopathy may have no noticeable symptoms in its early stages until the condition advances. Symptoms include breathlessness, swelling of the legs, chest pain, bloating of the abdomen and irregular heartbeats that feel rapid. The cause of cardiomyopathy is unknown, but heart valve problems, connective tissue disorder, drinking too much alcohol and metabolic disorders such as diabetes, thyroid disease and obesity may contribute to cardiomyopathy, says the Mayo Clinic.

Dilated cardiomyopathy is an inheritable condition in which the heart muscles become thin, making the heart chambers to expand. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy occurs when the heart walls thicken, interfering with the blood flow through the heart. Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia is a type of cardiomyopathy that occurs when fat and fibrosis replace the muscle of the right ventricle, causing abnormal heart rhythms. In restrictive cardiomyopathy, the ventricles become stiff, making them unable to relax enough to hold blood, according to Healthline.

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