Heart Disease & Heart Failure

What is Cardiomyopathy?

Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle and affects the ability of your heart to pump blood efficiently, which can lead to heart failure. According to the CDC, there are five main types of cardiomyopathy: 

  • Dilated cardiomyopathy causes one of the heart’s ventricles to enlarge. This type of cardiomyopathy may be inherited and can occur at any age. The most common cause is coronary artery disease or heart attack.
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy leads to the thickening of the heart muscle, which can lead to sudden death. This type of cardiomyopathy is often inherited and a person may not have symptoms. If this type of cardiomyopathy runs in your family, you may want to be tested.
  • Peripartum cardiomyopathy is a rare form of heart failure that occurs in women during the final months of pregnancy through five months after delivery. Symptoms can be mild to severe and sometimes mimic pregnancy symptoms, such as swelling of the feet and legs and shortness of breath.
  • Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia can lead to an irregular heartbeat. It’s more common in males and is usually inherited.
  • Restrictive cardiomyopathy leads to the stiffening or scarring of the heart muscle.


Some people with cardiomyopathy may never have symptoms, while others may notice the following:

  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Swelling in the feet and ankles
  • Irregular heartbeat or heart palpitations
  • Fainting or briefly passing out (syncope)


While the cause of cardiomyopathy is sometimes unknown, there are a number of different diseases or conditions that can lead to cardiomyopathy:

  • Viral infections in the heart
  • Family history of cardiomyopathy, heart failure, or sudden cardiac arrest
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Complex congenital heart disease (present at birth)
  • Certain types of chemotherapy drugs

Cardiomyopathy can be difficult to detect so if you experience symptoms or have a known family history of the disease, make an appointment with your primary care physician or cardiologist. 

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