Some patients may not experience any symptoms if the condition is mild. Most symptomatic patients complain of reduced effort tolerance.
While for some individuals, dilated cardiomyopathy may be genetic and not always preventable, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle such as balanced diet, adequate exercise, and avoidance of smoking and excessive alcohol so as to reduce risk of heart failure and occurrence of the condition. Good control of medical conditions such as diabetes, blood pressure and thyroid disorders is also essential.
Dilated cardiomyopathy may be inherited or be due to genetics, or it can be caused by other factors such as:
The condition is usually diagnosed by
Other treatment options include:
There are proven medications (guideline-directed heart failure therapy) that can make the patients feel better and reduce the risk of hospitalisations and death from this condition. Use of guideline directed heart failure medications in combination can potentially reduce risk of death by approximately 70%. It is important to take the medications regularly and as prescribed. Treatment of underlying conditions such as heart rhythm abnormalities, thyroid disorders, cessation of alcohol and optimisation of diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure control are also essential. Importantly, lifestyle measures such as reduced salt intake, management of fluid intake, smoking and alcohol cessation and prescribed physical activities also play an important role in the management of this condition.If the heart pumping function remains severely depressed despite the above interventions, there is increased risk of abnormal heart rhythms occurring. The abnormal heart rhythm can lead to fainting episodes and/or sudden death. The cardiologist may discuss the options of implantation of specific devices such as implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) and cardiac resynchronisation therapy (CRT). These devices may reduce risk of sudden death due to dangerous heart rhythm.In the event that patient’s condition is worsening despite medications and lifestyle measures, heart transplant or implantation of an artificial heart pump (left ventricular assist device) may be an option after careful consideration.
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