What Causes Thickening of the Heart Wall?

Thickening of the heart wall, which is called cardiomyopathy, has many causes, including genetic factors, long-term high blood pressure, damage of the heart tissue, heart valve problems and metabolic disorders, such as diabetes, thyroid disease and obesity, reveals Mayo Clinic. It affects people of any age, notes American Heart Association.

Thickening of the heart wall is also caused by chronic rapid heart rate, consumption of too much alcohol for a long time, some chemotherapy drugs, certain viral infections and pregnancy, reveals Mayo Clinic. The use of anabolic steroids, amphetamines, cocaine, and deficiency of minerals and essential vitamins such as thiamine can also cause cardiomyopathy. However, in some people, the cause of this disorder is unknown. Damage of heart tissue occurs through injury by viral infections or previous heart attacks.

There are three types of cardiomyopathy: dilated cardiomyopathy, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and restrictive cardiomyopathy. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy affects one in every 500 people, and is the cause of cardiac arrest in young people, especially athletes, reveals the American Heart Association.

The thickening of the heart occurs when the muscle cells of the heart enlarge. It commonly affects the left ventricle. It causes symptoms such as chest discomfort or pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting, and palpitations, states USCF Medical Center. Serious complications such as stroke and heart failure affect a minority of those affected. Genetic and thorough cardiology evaluations are used to diagnose cardiomyopathy.