Cardiomyopathy is either inherited through genes or acquired through certain conditions such as coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, pregnancy complications within five months of birth, connective tissue disorders and thyroid disease, states the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Other times, as with pediatric cardiomyopathy, the causes are unknown.
Cardiomyopathy refers to diseases of the heart muscle. Cardiomyopathy affects people of all ages, explains the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The condition causes the heart muscle to thicken, become enlarged or rigid. As the cardiomyopathy deteriorates, the heart becomes weaker, as it is less able to pump blood through the body, and it may cause irregular heartbeats or heart failure.
Early stages of cardiomyopathy do not usually show any symptoms, notes the Mayo Clinic. However, as the condition advances, symptoms appear that include swelling of the legs, bloating of the abdomen, breathlessness, chest pain and fatigue. While the worsening of the symptoms may happen quickly or slowly depending on the patient, the symptoms always exacerbate without treatment.
Treatment for cardiomyopathy helps to control the symptoms, reduce complications and stop the condition from worsening, adds the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. These include lifestyle changes, medicine, surgery and implanted devices that correct arrhythmias.