Cardiomyopathy is the medical term that is used to refer to different diseases of the heart muscle. There are four main types of Cardiomyopathy that can occur.
Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM): This is the most common type of cardiomyopathy and it goes by many different names due to its many different causes, including but not limited to alcohol-related cardiomyopathy, congestive cardiomyopathy, diabetes cardiomyopathy, familial dilated cardiomyopathy, and primary cardiomyopathy, just to name a few. It affects the ventricles and atria of the heart, as well as the lower and the upper chambers of the heart, and can lead to heart failure. It is most common in adults between the ages of 20 and 60 years of age.
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HMC): This is another common form of cardiomyopathy and it, too, can affect people of all ages – however, it is a common cause of sudden cardiac arrest in individuals who are younger, as well as in athletes. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy occurs when cells of the heart muscles become enlarged, then causing the ventricles to thicken and block blood flow. It can also affect the mitral valve of the heart and result in blood to leak through. Individuals with HCM may experience symptoms such as shortness of breath – especially while exercising, while others may not have any symptoms at all.
Restrictive Cardiomyopathy: Typically affecting older people, this occurs when the ventricles of the heart become damaged or rigid, and is often due to scar tissue replacing the heart muscle. As a result, the ventricles of the heart fill with blood, which leads to the reduction of blood flow over time and can lea to heart failure or other heart problems. There are many different diseases and health conditions that can play a factor in the cause of restrictive cardiomyopathy, such as hemochromatosis, sarcoidosis, connective tissue disorders, as well as cancer treatment such as chemotherapy and radiation.
Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia (ARVD): This is a much more rare form of cardiomyopathy that is usually inherited and affects young teenagers and adults. It occurs when muscle tissue dies and gets replaced with scar tissue. The most common symptoms of ARVD include heart palpitations and fainting.