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Cardiomyopathy (cont.)

Can cardiomyopathy be prevented?

Cardiomyopathy is a term that describes the end result of many diseases and illnesses. The type of heart muscle damage that occurs and the subsequent decrease in the pumping capability of the heart depends upon the injury, the amount of damage to the heart, and the potential for recovery.

Some cardiomyopathies are completely preventable, for example alcoholic cardiomyopathy due to long-term excessive alcohol consumption. Others are unavoidable such as cardiomyopathy due to a viral infection.

Living a healthy lifestyle will help minimize the risk of developing some cardiomyopathies. This includes maintaining a healthy, balanced diet and pursuing a routine exercise regimen, For ischemic cardiomyopathy, risk reduction includes life-long control of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.

In patients who are at risk for genetic cardiomyopathy such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, screening echocardiograms may be advisable to prevent sudden cardiac death.

What is the outlook for a person with cardiomyopathy?

Cardiomyopathy is a prevalent disease. In the United States, up to a half million people develop a dilated cardiomyopathy every year. Ischemic cardiomyopathy may be present in up to 1% of the population. Because cardiomyopathy tends to be progressive, mortality depends upon the amount of heart pumping function loss; and one goal of therapy is to slow the rate of this loss.

Research on new medical and surgical treatments continues, ranging from new medications, stem cell research, and innovative types of implantable heart assist devices. Ongoing clinical trials for patients with cardiomyopathies are being conducted by the National Institutes of Health.

Medically reviewed by Robert J. Bryg, MD; Board Certified Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Cardiovascular Disease


Maron, Barry J. MD, et al. "Contemporary Definitions and Classification of the Cardiomyopathies: An American Heart Association Scientific Statement From the Council on Clinical Cardiology, Heart Failure and Transplantation Committee; Quality of Care and Outcomes Research and Functional Genomics and Translational Biology Interdisciplinary Working Groups; and Council on Epidemiology and Prevention." Circulation: Volume 113(14)11 April 2006pp 1807-1816.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/16/2016

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