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Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle in which it becomes inflamed and works poorly. If this is caused by a virus it is called viral cardiomyopathy. There are three major forms of the disease: dilated, hypertrophic and restrictive.

Dilated cardiomyopathy is the most common form. The heart cavity becomes enlarged and stretched, which is known as cardiac dilation. The heart is weak and doesn't pump normally, and most patients will develop congestive heart failure. Abnormal heart rhythms, which are known as arrhythmias, and disturbances in the heart's electrical conduction are also possible. Blood clots form easily in this situation, since blood flows more slowly through an enlarged (dilated) heart. A blood clot that forms in an artery or the heart is called a thrombus. A clot that breaks free, circulates in the bloodstream and blocks a small blood vessel is called an embolus. This can be a cause of stroke and/or cut off blood to organs or the legs and arms.

In hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the muscle mass of the left ventricle enlarges, which can alo be called hypertrophy. The symptoms of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy may include dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath with exertion, and angina pectoris. Angina is a form of chest pain/discomfort which results from a low supply of blood to the heart muscle. Some people may experience cardiac arrhythmias. These are abnormal heart rhythms that in some cases lead to sudden death. The obstruction to blood flow from the left ventricle increases the ventricle's work, and a heart murmur may be heard.

Restrictive cardiomyopathy is the least common form of the disease in the United States. The heart muscle of the ventricles, known as myocardium, becomes so rigid that it is more difficult for the ventricles to fill with blood in between heartbeats. A person experiencing restrictive cardiomyopathy will often complain about being tired, may have swollen hands and feet, and may find it difficult to breathe when exerting energy. This type of cardiomyopathy is usually due to another disease process.

No matter what form this disease can be very dangerous and it is important to be seeing a cardiologist and following his advice exactly as well as keeping track of how you feel each day and noting anything unusual (jot down symptom, time and what you were doing). This helps you give your doctor a clearer picture of how this disease is affecting you. There are different treatments available and how you are treated depends on the type and cause of the cardiomyopathy as well as your health and lifestyle.

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โˆ™ 2013-07-10 13:46:58
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Q: What is viral cardiomyopathy and how does this affect one's health?
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