Dilated cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle that makes it difficult for the heart to pump enough blood to the rest of the body. It is caused by a weakened and enlarged heart muscle.
There are many types of cardiomyopathy. Dilated cardiomyopathy is the most common form.
The most common causes of dilated cardiomyopathy are:
- Heart disease caused by a narrowing or a blockage of the coronary arteries
- Poorly controlled high blood pressure.
Other causes of dilated cardiomyopathy, include:
- Alcohol or cocaine abuse
- Diabetes, thyroid disease or hepatitis
- Medicines that can be toxic to the heart, such as drugs used to treat cancer
- Abnormal heart rhythms in which the heart beats very fast for a long period of time
- Autoimmune illnesses
- Conditions that run in families
- Infections that involve the heart muscle
- Heart valves that are either too narrow or too leaky
This condition can affect anyone at any age. However, it is most common in adult men.
Symptoms of heart failure are most common. They most often develop slowly over time. However, sometimes symptoms start very suddenly and are severe.
Common symptoms are:
- Chest pain or pressure (more likely with exercise)
- Fatigue, weakness, faintness
- Irregular or rapid pulse
- Loss of appetite
- Shortness of breath with activity or after lying down
- Swelling of feet and ankles