Some people with cardiomyopathy have no symptoms, while others develop symptoms similar to heart failure, which can include fatigue, shortness of breath and swelling in the legs, feet, ankles and abdomen, according to Cleveland Clinic. Signs generally present as the disease progresses.
Other symptoms of cardiomyopathy include fainting during physical activity, dizziness, chest pain, an abnormal heart rhythm or a heart murmur, states Cleveland Clinic. Physicians diagnose the condition after an exam, a medical history and some tests.
Cardiomyopathy is a condition that includes several diseases of the heart muscle, explains Cleveland Clinic. These diseases cause the muscle to become thickened, rigid or enlarged, making it difficult for the heart to pump blood effectively. The weakened heart may also lack the ability to maintain a normal electrical rhythm. Cardiomyopathy can also cause damage to the heart valves.
Some cardiomyopthy patients inherit the genes from their parents, states Cleveland Clinic. Others develop the condition because of another disease or factor. Sometimes, doctors cannot determine what causes cardiomyopathy.
Some patients do not require treatment for cardiomyopathy, while others develop severe symptoms quickly and require medical care, notes the Cleveland Clinic. Treatments include medicine, surgery and lifestyle changes, which alleviate symptoms or sometimes keep the disease from worsening.