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Cardiomyopathy is a general term for diseases of the heart muscle, where the walls of the heart chambers have become stretched, thickened or stiff. This affects the heart’s ability to pump blood around the body.
The abnormal heart muscle seen in cardiomyopathy is not caused by blocked arteries in the heart (coronary artery disease), high blood pressure (hypertension), disease of the heart valves (valvular disease) or congenital heart disease.
Most types of cardiomyopathy are inherited and are seen in children and younger people.
In dilated cardiomyopathy the muscle walls of the heart become stretched and thin, so they cannot squeeze (contract) properly to pump blood around the body.
How serious is it?
If you have dilated cardiomyopathy, you’re at greater risk of heart failure, where the heart fails to pump enough blood around the body at the right pressure.
Heart failure typically causes shortness of breath, extreme tiredness and ankle swelling. Learn more about the symptoms of heart failure.
There’s also a risk of heart valve problems, an irregular heartbeat and blood clots. You’ll need to have regular appointments with a GP so the condition can be monitored. Read more here….