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When it comes to a dilated cardiomyopathy, there are numerous causes that you have to concern yourself with when trying to get to the underlying etiology of the disease. Some of the most common causes of the disease can stem from the diet that a patient eats, genetic factors, endocrine imbalances, infective causes or infiltrative conditions. 

What these potential causes all have in common is the lack of control that many of the patients have in preventing the symptoms. Dietary deficiencies in thiamine are unlikely to be seen in the Western world but a condition like this is much more likely to be seen in alcoholic or in patients from developing countries where food is less abundant. 

Two of the most common and preventable conditions that can lead to dilated cardiomyopathy would be uncontrolled diabetes mellitus or chronic alcoholism. Both of these conditions are entirely stemming from the behaviors of the patients and if no efforts are made to augment these behaviors, it is likely that patients will start to notice symptoms of the disease. 

The heart is a very intricate organ and when the environment surrounding it changes even slightly, the effects can be magnified. One of the most common changes that can first happen is that the muscles start to weaken, which leads to the chambers in the heart to dilate. This means that the patient's heart will not be able to pump blood as effectively around his body as he once did. 

Symptoms that will start to appear in this case will be increased fatigue, shortness of breath, cough, and potentially severe swelling in his arms and his legs. As symptoms grow worse, it is also possible for patients to start to notice palpitations, dizziness or lightheadedness and even the potential to faint. 

Treatment must begin in these patients to preserve the heart as best as possible. There are currently no cures for the disease but patients can have good prognoses and a high quality of life if they seek therapy at the onset of their symptoms. One of the first staples to start treatment must include giving an ACE inhibitor. Not only will this medication help reduce blood pressure and work on the heart, but it will also help stabilize the muscles to help the heart pumping as effectively as possible

Patients may also be given a combination of diuretics, b-blockers and blood thinners to help maximize the efforts of the heart. Due to the risk of blood clots, as blood is no longer effectively pumped around the heart, patients will need to be on blood-thinning medications which could present an additional challenge to the quality of life of the patient. The risk of bleeding increases so even minor bumps and bruises can become problematic in patients requiring this type of medication. 

The most important thing that you can do for yourself is to manage risk factors beforehand. If you have a family history of dilated cardiomyopathy or abuse alcohol, it is best to visit a cardiologist to assess your heart and try lifestyle modifications that can help prevent this disease. [1]

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