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Cardiomyopathy: Disease of the Heart Muscle

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What could be more important than keeping a healthy heart? This means keeping all of the complex features of the heart working in optimum condition. The cardiac muscle, a type of involuntary striated muscle in the walls of the heart, can develop a condition called cardiomyopathy.

There are two main categories of cardiomyopathy: primary and congestive. Other secondary types are hypertrophic, restrictive and ishchemic cardiomyopathy. Congestive is the more common form of heart muscle disease.

It is reported that 500,000 new cases of cardiomyopathy develop each year in the United States. Instead of afflicting the elderly like most other heart diseases, heart muscle disease more commonly strikes younger people. This group of disorders directly damages the muscle, affecting its ability to pump blood to other parts of the body.

What is the Cause of Cardiomyopathy?
The causes are oftentimes undetermined. Sometimes congestive cardiomyopathy is caused by infection or other heart muscle inflammation. Columbia University Medical Center reports that studies show excessive alcohol consumption, nutritional deficiencies, complications of childbirth, and genetic disorders play a role in the disease. It is believed that hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is an inherited disease and that restrictive cardiomyopathy is usually caused by disease associated with cancers of the blood.

Studies also indicate that men seem to be affected by congestive cardiomyopathy more often than women. Although it is believed that cardiomyopathy cannot be prevented it is recommended that good heart health begins with the avoidance of smoking and excessive alcohol intake, sensible, proper nutrition, and regular exercise. Treatment of the disease begins with changing the daily routine of the patient to address these lifestyle issues.

Diagnosing Cardiomyopathy
In the most common form of heart muscle disease, congestive cardiomyopathy, the heart becomes enlarged, weakened and thus, unable to pump blood effectively. Heart failure symptoms begin to develop.

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