Dilated cardiomyopathy – causes, side effects and treatments at NaturalPedia.com

Wednesday, March 07, 2018 by

Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) refers to a condition where the heart’s blood pumping ability is decreased because the left ventricle (the heart’s main pumping chamber) “is enlarged and weakened.”

In some cases, DCM can prevent the heart from relaxing and filling with blood the way it normally does. In time, this can affect the other chambers of the heart.

Known side effects of dilated cardiomyopathy

Most patients with dilated cardiomyopathy do not experience any symptoms while others may only have minor symptoms, which means they can still live normal lives.

However, other individuals may develop symptoms which may progress and worsen as heart function also deteriorates.

The side effects of DCM can occur at any age and may include:

  • Blood clots — May form in the dilated left ventricle because of the pooling of the blood. Should a blood clot break off, it can get trapped in an artery and disrupt blood flow to the brain, which can cause a stroke. A clot can sometimes block blood flow to other organs or the legs.
  • Chest pain/pressure
  • Dizziness/lightheadedness
  • Fainting — May be caused by conditions like irregular heart rhythms, abnormal responses of the blood vessels during exercise, or no cause might be determined.
  • Fatigue/feeling overly tired
  • Heart failure symptoms (e.g. shortness of breath and fatigue)
  • Palpitations/abnormal heart rhythms that feel like the heart is beating too hard or too fast
  • Swelling of the lower extremities
  • Weight gain
  • Sudden cardiac death (SCD)

Body systems harmed by dilated cardiomyopathy

DCM can cause complications such as:

  • Heart failure — This occurs when the heart can’t function properly and is unable to pump enough blood at the right pressure to meet the body’s needs.
  • Heart block — This occurs when the electrical activity that controls the heartbeat is slowed or stopped and the heart can’t contract regularly. A patient may need a pacemaker if the heart is unable to retain its normal rhythm.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent dilated cardiomyopathy

The following foods, nutrients, and supplements can help prevent congestive heart failure:

  • Fish oils — Eating cold water fish can help reduce the risk for heart rhythm disturbances and may also reduce the risk of heart palpitations, atrial fibrillation, and ventricular arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat). For patients with conditions controlled with standard care, omega-3 fatty acid supplements can help improve their condition.
  • Arginine — Taking arginine supplements can help prolong exercise capacity in those with congestive heart failure.
  • Carnitine — Patients can benefit from carnitine because the heart needs it for energy production.
  • Folic acid, vitamin B12, and vitamin B6 — Can help prevent recurrence of blocked arteries in patients who have already had coronary angioplasty.
  • Psyllium fiber — Can help reduce cholesterol levels.

Treatments, management plans for dilated cardiomyopathy

Treatment for patients with dilated cardiomyopathy will aim to decrease heart size. Management plans and treatments for DCM will also try to minimize the presence of the substances in the bloodstream that enlarge the heart and may cause the aggravation of symptoms.

Patients with this condition may require medication to manage heart failure. They may be prescribed drugs such as a beta-blocker, ACE inhibitor, an ARB, and/or diuretics. Doctors may prescribe individuals with an arrhythmia with medication that can control their heart rate or lessen the occurrence of arrhythmias. Blood thinners may also be used to prevent the formation of blood clots.

People with heart failure may be advised to make lifestyle changes such as restricting sodium to 2,000 to 3,000 milligrams (mg) daily. Doctors may also recommend aerobic exercise, but without any heavy weight lifting.

Patients with severe DCM may require one of the following surgeries:

  • Cardiac resynchronization by biventricular pacemaker — Some people with DCM may benefit from this pacemaker, which stimulates both the right and left ventricles and improves the heart’s ability to contract with more force. The improved heart contractions can improve symptoms and increase the length of time that you can engage in physical activities. A biventricular pacemaker can also help individuals with heart block or some bradycardias (slow heart rates).
  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD) — ICDs are suitable for people who may experience life-threatening arrhythmias or SCD. The ICD will constantly monitor their heart rhythm. If it detects a very fast, abnormal heart rhythm, it will ”shock” the heart muscle to resume a normal rhythm.
  • Surgery — Conventional surgeries for coronary artery disease or valvular disease may be required for some patients with DCM. Some individuals with the condition may be eligible for surgical repair of the left ventricle or placement of a cardiac assist device.
  • Heart transplant — This involves replacing a patient’s damaged heart with a healthy one from a donor.

Where to learn more

Summary

Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) refers to a condition where the heart’s blood pumping ability is decreased because the left ventricle (the heart’s main pumping chamber) “is enlarged and weakened.”

The side effects of DCM can occur at any age and may include blood clots, chest pain, dizziness, and fainting.

DCM can cause complications such as heart failure or heart block.

The following foods, nutrients, and supplements can help prevent congestive heart failure: fish oils, arginine, and carnitine.

Treatment for patients with dilated cardiomyopathy will aim to decrease heart size. Management plans for DCM will also try to minimize the presence of the substances in the bloodstream that enlarge the heart and may cause the aggravation of symptoms.

Treatment may include medications, lifestyle changes, or surgery.

Sources include

MedicineNet.com

Cardiomyopathy.org

RaySahelian.com



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