Cardiomyopathy is a medical condition that impacts the heart’s muscle, leading to a reduced ability to effectively pump blood to other organs in the body. This, in turn, can result in heart failure.

Dilated, hypertrophic, and restricted cardiomyopathies are the three primary subtypes of cardiomyopathy. The kind of cardiomyopathy and the severity of it determine the type and course of treatment, which may involve drugs, surgically implanted devices, heart surgery, or, in extreme circumstances, a heart transplant. With appropriate treatment, it is possible to slow down the progression of cardiomyopathy and enhance your quality of life.

Cardiomyopathy can affect anyone, regardless of their age, sex, or race. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which is the most common genetic form of this condition, affects approximately 1 in 500 individuals worldwide. Another type of genetic cardiomyopathy affects around 1 in 2,000 to 2,500 people.


Early on in the development of cardiomyopathy, there may be neither indications nor symptoms. However, when the illness worsens, several indications and symptoms, such as:

  • Dyspnea, or shortness of breath with activity or even when at rest
  • Rapid, hammering, or fluttering heartbeats
  • Pressure or discomfort in the chest
  • Legs, ankles, and foot swelling
  • Abdominal bloating brought on by a fluid accumulation
  • Fatigue
  • Cough while reclined
  • Difficulty sleeping flat
  • Lightheadedness, wooziness, and fainting

If not treated, symptoms and signs frequently worsen. It depends on the individual whether the illness becomes worse swiftly or gradually.

In case you notice any signs or symptoms related to cardiomyopathy, it’s advisable to seek medical attention from your doctor. If you experience severe shortness of breath, fainting, or chest pain, it’s recommended to call for emergency assistance or your local emergency number immediately.

Certain types of cardiomyopathy can be inherited and passed down from one generation to another within families. If you have been diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, your doctor may recommend that your family members undergo medical evaluation to check if they have the condition too.


The reason of cardiomyopathy is frequently unknown. However, in other persons it is either inherited or the outcome of a different condition (acquired).

Acquired cardiomyopathy can result from specific medical conditions or activities like:

  • Cardiac attack-related cardiac tissue damage
  • Long term high blood pressure or fast heart rate
  • Problems of the heart valve
  • Infections, notably those that cause heart inflammation
  • COVID-19 infection
  • Connective tissue disorders
  • Metabolic conditions such diabetes, thyroid illness, or obesity
  • A deficiency in diet-related vital vitamins or minerals, such as thiamin (vitamin B-1)
  • Hemochromatosis, an accumulation of iron in the heart muscle
  • Sarcoidosis, which causes granulomas, or small lumps of inflammatory cells, can develop in any organ of the body, including the heart and lungs.
  • Amyloidosis, an accumulation of aberrant proteins in the tissues
  • Radiation and some chemotherapy medicines are used to treat cancer
  • Utilization of anabolic steroids, cocaine, or amphetamines
  • Years of excessive alcohol consumption
  • Complication during pregnancy

Different forms of cardiomyopathy include:

  • Dilated cardiomyopathy. The left ventricle, the heart’s primary pumping chamber, dilates in this type of cardiomyopathy and is unable to efficiently pump blood out of the heart.

Although this variety can afflict people of all ages, it tends to affect men more frequently and most frequently affects middle-aged individuals. Coronary artery disease and heart attack are the most common causes of cardiomyopathy. However, genetic mutations can also be a contributing factor.

  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is characterized by abnormal thickening of the heart muscle, which can make it harder for the heart to function properly. This condition primarily affects the muscle of the left ventricle, which is the heart’s primary pumping chamber. Although hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can manifest at any age, it usually worsens if it does so in childhood. The majority of those who have this kind of cardiomyopathy have a family history of it. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy has been connected to some genetic abnormalities.
  • Restrictive cardiomyopathy. The heart muscle stiffens and loses flexibility with this kind, making it incapable of expanding and filling with blood in between heartbeats. Any age can experience this least prevalent form of cardiomyopathy, however elderly persons are more frequently impacted.

Both idiopathic (occurs for no apparent reason) and diseases that affect the heart, such amyloidosis, can result in restrictive cardiomyopathy.

  • Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia. The muscle in the lower right heart chamber (right ventricle) is replaced by scar tissue in this uncommon form of cardiomyopathy, which can cause issues with cardiac rhythm. Genetic changes are frequently the cause.
  • Unclassified cardiomyopathy. This includes many other forms of cardiomyopathy.

Risk factors

Numerous factors, such as the following, can raise your risk of cardiomyopathy:

  • Chronic high blood pressure
  • Chronic alcohol abuse
  • Being overweight causes the heart to overwork
  • A history of cardiomyopathy, heart disease, and sudden cardiac death in the family
  • Heart-related conditions, such as having previously experienced a heart attack, having coronary artery disease, or having an infection in the heart (ischemic cardiomyopathy).
  • Cancer treatment with specific chemotherapy medications and radiation
  • The use of illegal drugs like cocaine, amphetamines, and anabolic steroid

Many illnesses, such as the following, increase your risk of cardiomyopathy:

  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid disease
  • Connective tissue disorders
  • Amyloidosis
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Hemochromatosis, a condition in which the body stores extra iron