Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy VS. Dilated Cardiomyopathy
Cardiomyopathy refers to diseases related to the muscles of the heart. In this disease, the heart muscles become thick, rigid, and enlarged.
In some cases, the scar tissue replaces the muscle tissue of the heart. The prolonged impact of this disease causes weakening of the heart muscles which deteriorates the heart’s capacity to maintain the electrical rhythm and pump blood throughout the body.
Cardiomyopathy may lead to arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat) or heart failure in some severe cases. Cardiomyopathy also affects the heart valves leading to many other complications.
What is the Difference Between Dilated Cardiomyopathy and Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)
Types of Cardiomyopathy
Common types of cardiomyopathy include:
- Dilated cardiomyopathy
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
An individual may inherit or acquire cardiomyopathy. “Inherited” means that the parents of individuals have passed the disease to him/her via the affected gene.
The individual may “acquire” this disease due to some other condition or disease. The actual cause of this disease remains unknown in most cases.
This disease may affect the individual at any age. However, it is more common in certain age groups.
It is one of the most common types of cardiomyopathy, and it can affect the individual at any age. cardiomyopathy is reported in males as well as females in almost equal proportion. The proportion of its patient in the world is approximately 1:500
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the situation when the heart muscle becomes thick and enlarged without any obvious cause.
In most cases, the septum, the lower chambers of the heart, and the ventricles are affected. The thickness of heart muscles causes blockages and narrowing in the ventricles resulting in difficulty for the heart to pump blood.
This disease may also cause stiffness in the ventricles, cellular changes in tissues of the heart, and changes in the mitral valve.
Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)- Cardiomyopathy and Heart Failure
Dilated cardiomyopathy is when the heart is characterized by a weakened and enlarged heart muscle. This condition affects the left ventricle first and then affects the right one.
The pumping capability of the heart reduces because of the weakening of heart muscles forcing the heart to do more labor.
The long-term impact of this disease appears in the form of the reduced capacity of the heart to pump blood. Dilated cardiomyopathy may lead to several complications including blood clots in the heart, irregular heart rate, heart valve disease, and heart failure.
5 Types Of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
- Idiopathic hypertrophic subaortic stenosis
- Hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy
- Hypertrophic nonobstructive cardiomyopathy
- Familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
- Asymmetric septal hypertrophy
Types of Dilated Cardiomyopathy
- Primary cardiomyopathy
- Peripartum cardiomyopathy
- Ischemic cardiomyopathy
- Idiopathic cardiomyopathy
- Familial dilated cardiomyopathy
- Diabetic cardiomyopathy
- Congestive cardiomyopathy
- Alcoholic cardiomyopathy
Causes of Cardiomyopathy
- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
This form of cardiomyopathy is inherited. The main cause of this disease is the mutation in the genes of the proteins which is found in heart muscles.
However, individuals may acquire hypertrophic cardiomyopathy over time due to aging, high blood pressure, other diseases, such as thyroid disease and diabetes. It is difficult to determine the actual cause of this disease.
- Dilated Cardiomyopathy
Approximately one-third of patients suffering from this disease inherit it from their patients. However, the actual cause of this disease remains unknown.
Different substances, conditions, and diseases may lead to dilated cardiomyopathy, including:
- Viral attack on heart muscles causing infection and inflammation
- Use of harmful drugs such as amphetamines and cocaine
- Administration of cancer-curing medicines for a long period
- HIV, viral hepatitis, thyroid disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack, coronary heart disease
- Complications during the period of pregnancy
- Consumption of heavy metals and poisons
- Consumption of alcohol in large quantity
This disease can affect people of all age groups. Cardiomyopathy is more common among men as compared to women. Dilated cardiomyopathy is common among blacks as compared to whites. Some major factors of risk may include:
- People who have a history of cardiomyopathy, sudden cardiac arrest, and heart failure in family history
- Long-term high blood pressure
- Long-term alcoholism
- Diseases which attack the heart including amyloidosis, sarcoidosis, or hemochromatosis
- Metabolic diseases, such as obesity and diabetes
The patients who do not have symptoms of cardiomyopathy are at the major risk because they may face more complications as compared to those in whom symptoms are observable.
SIGNS, SYMPTOMS, AND COMPLICATIONS
Not all patients have clear signs and symptoms of cardiomyopathy. The symptoms never appear in some patients. In most cases, the symptoms do not appear unless the heart condition becomes worse. Some symptoms which indicate this disease include:
- Swelling in the abdomen, legs, feet, ankles, and veins in the neck
- Feeling of trouble in breathing especially during physical activity
Some other common symptoms may include fainting during physical activity, light-headedness, and dizziness. Untreated cardiomyopathy may lead to several complications including heart failure and sudden cardiac arrest.
Only a specialist can diagnose this disease based on the family and medical history of the patient. The other methods of diagnosis include physical examination and results from different procedures and tests.
The physical examination of this disease includes an examination using a stethoscope. The doctor listens to the lungs and heart of the patient. The murmuring sound indicates the signs of obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The crackling sound of the chest indicates the signs of a heart attack.
Different kinds of diagnostic tests used for precise identification of disease include blood tests, chest X-Ray, electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, and stress test.
Latest diagnosis technologies may include the use of cardiac catheterization, coronary angiography, myocardial biopsy, and gene testing. All these methods are available in almost all countries of the world.
Patients who suffer from any cardiomyopathy but they do not feel any symptoms do not require any treatment. In some patients, some symptoms of dilated cardiomyopathy may appear suddenly but for a very brief period and then goes away without any treatment.
On the other hand, treatment is necessary for patients who can feel the symptoms of this disease.
Treatment of different kinds of cardiomyopathies is different, and it also depends on some factors including, the patient’s health, age, complications, and severity of symptoms. Following is the treatment suggested by most of the cardiologists:
The main objectives to be achieved as a result of applying treatment include:
- Preventing the disease from becoming more complex
- Reducing the risk of sudden cardiac arrest
- Controlling the factors which are causing this disease
- Controlling the symptoms so that the individual can live a normal life
Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Changes
Most cardiologists suggest lifestyle changes to control the symptoms of this disease and manage the causes which result in those symptoms. Following are the suggested lifestyle changes in most of the cases:
- Quitting smoking
- Physical activity
- Managing stress
- Achieving a healthy weight
- Heart-healthy eating
Medicines for Cardiomyopathy
The cardiologists also suggest some medicines to control the symptoms of this disease. The objectives of chemical treatment include:
- Slow the heartbeat and streamline its pattern
- Remove the enhanced amount of sodium from the body
- Reduce inflammation in muscles
- Prevent blood from clotting in the veins and the heart
- Keeping the blood pressure normal
- Balancing the electrolytes in the body
Surgery and Implanted Devices
The cardiologists may also suggest implanting devices through surgery. These devices can improve heart function. Following are different types of devices which can be implanted for this purpose:
- Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Device: This device is also known as the CRT device, and its function is to coordinate the contractions between the right and left ventricle.
- Left Ventricular Assist Device: This device assists the left ventricle and facilitates pumping blood in the body. It is a short-term measure for those who are waiting for heart surgery but can be used as a long-term option.
- Pacemaker: This device is implanted under the patient’s skin of the chest, and it controls the arrhythmias. This device generates the electrical pulse, and it can assist the heart in maintaining a normal heartbeat.
Cardiac surgeons in some parts of the world have achieved expertise in replacing the patient’s heart with the heart of a deceased person. This option is used by surgeons as a last resort for patients who go through severe heart failure. This stage of heart failure is known as the “end-stage,” and it means that no other treatments can work to treat the patient’s heart.
It is not possible to prevent an inherited disease as the parents pass these diseases to the children. However, the people who do not inherit this disease can prevent it from taking certain precautionary measures. The doctors may need advice:
- Managing stress
- Quitting smoking
- Regular physical activity
- Heart-healthy eating
- Getting rest and enough sleep
- Avoiding illegal drugs and alcohol
Some other diseases may also lead to cardiomyopathy and identification of the cause is the most important step in this regard. The treatment of this condition earlier can prevent severe complications which may include diabetes, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc.
The cardiologists suggest taking preventive measures to avoid any form of cardiomyopathy. Many people spend long periods without any treatment by taking preventive actions only.
My name is Phyllis Robinson MSN, RN. I have been a Registered Nurse for 27 years in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. I am passionate about cardiac care and heart disease. I also want this blog to be an educational tool that people can refer to for traditional and alternative treatment. I will blog on heart disorders such as high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, cardiomyopathy, and high cholesterol.
I received my Nursing degree from Baltimore Community College.
I went on to receive my Masters in Nursing from Walden University
I have worked for almost 30 years in Critical Care with a focus on heart health. I am an advocate of preventive healthcare.