Cardiomyopathy refers to a group of heart diseases that affect your heart muscle. These diseases can cause some of the heart's walls to thicken.
Of the different types of cardiomyopathy, the most common type is ischemic cardiomyopathy. It occurs when coronary artery disease (also called ischemic heart disease) or a heart attack reduces blood flow to the heart, damaging the muscle.
This condition is sometimes called dilated cardiomyopathy, or DM. It can lead to heart failure, heart valve disease, blood clots and other heart conditions.
As the heart’s ventricles (lower chambers) enlarge and weaken because of the damage caused by insufficient blood flow, they lose their ability to pump effectively. Your heart has to work harder to pump blood to the rest of your body.
Your doctor may suggest medicine or surgical interventions to improve your heart function. Health and lifestyle changes can also relieve ischemic cardiomyopathy symptoms.
Learn more about all types of cardiomyopathy.
When you come to Aurora for your cardiomyopathy care, you can expect:
In the beginning, your condition may not cause any symptoms. However, if you do feel any of these symptoms, it’s important to see your doctor right away to prevent a heart attack or cardiac arrest (when your heart suddenly stops beating).
Ischemic cardiomyopathy symptoms can include:
To diagnose ischemic cardiomyopathy, your doctor will ask about your symptoms and perform a physical exam.
If you need further heart tests, they could include:
Learn more about heart and vascular testing and diagnosis at Aurora.
If you have ischemic cardiomyopathy, we’ll work with you on a personalized treatment plan. Many people benefit from making healthy lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking and limiting salt, alcohol and caffeine.
Other options include: