Cardiomyopathy is a broad term that refers to a disease of the heart muscle. The heart muscle becomes enlarged, thick or abnormally rigid, and as cardiomyopathy progresses, the heart becomes weaker. Cardiomyopathy can lead to heart rhythm problems, heart failure and sudden cardiac arrest.
Symptoms of cardiomyopathy generally get worse as the disease progresses. In some cases, patients may not experience any symptoms in the early stages.
Common symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling in the ankles, feet and legs
- Irregular heartbeat
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
Goals of treatment include controlling symptoms, reducing complications and preventing the disease from getting worse. Treatment for cardiomyopathy includes lifestyle changes, medicines and surgery.