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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Dilated Cardiomyopathy
      Category : Health Centers > Heart Diseases

Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Alternate Names : Dilated Congestive Cardiomyopathy

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

The heart is made up of muscle, valves, supporting structures, a conduction system and blood vessels. A cardiomyopathy is any disease of the heart muscle. This term is usually only used when the disease is inside the heart itself, and not due to high blood pressure, clogging of the arteries from atherosclerosis or heart valve problems. In dilated cardiomyopathy, one of the subtypes of this disease, the heart muscle becomes thin and flabby, and the heart becomes enlarged.

What is going on in the body?

This condition makes the heart unable to pump blood effectively. The thin, flabby heart muscle is weak and cannot function properly. This results in symptoms for the affected person.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

Sometimes the condition is inherited. But in many cases, the cause is unknown. Other possible causes include:

  • infections of the heart muscle, such as myocarditis from a viral infection
  • alcohol dependence or cocaine abuse
  • certain chemotherapy medications used to treat cancer, such as doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide
  • exposure to certain chemicals or toxins, such as mercury, lead, and cobalt
  • diseases affecting the thyroid gland, such as hypothyroidism, or low thyroid hormone levels in the body
  • an abnormally high secretion of growth hormone, also called acromegaly, during childhood
  • low levels of phosphate and calcium in the body
  • AIDS, due to HIV infection
  • deficiency of thiamine, one of the B-complex vitamins
  • autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, which occur when a person's immune system attacks his or her own body


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    Dilated Cardiomyopathy: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Eric Berlin, MD
    Reviewer: Adam Brochert, MD
    Date Reviewed: 06/01/01

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