Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Your input helps shape an effective treatment plan.

JoAnne M. Foody, MD, FACC, CardioSmart Editor-in-Chief

Usually when we say someone has a “big heart,” it’s a good thing. However, if your actual heart muscle is enlarged, it means you can’t pump blood through your body as efficiently.  This is what happens if you have a condition called dilated cardiomyopathy. Your heart muscle stretches (dilates) and weakens. Cardiomyopathy mostly affects your left ventricle—the main pumping chamber of your heart.

Dilated cardiomyopathy can be caused by a number of factors. For example, you can develop it as a result of health conditions like coronary artery disease or high blood pressure, or it can result from health behaviors like alcohol abuse. It can affect any person at any age, including pregnant women, but is most common in adult men.

Dilated cardiomyopathy may not cause any symptoms at first. Over time, if your heart is not pumping as well as it should, you may feel very tired or you may find yourself short of breath after bouts of activity or after lying down.  Dilated cardiomyopathy can lead to problems such as irregular heart rhythms, stroke, heart attack, and heart failure.

An important part of your treatment will be taking good care of yourself. Use this condition center to learn more about dilated cardiomyopathy. You can keep up with the latest research, find questions to ask your doctor, and get tips to help you feel your best.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy News & Events

A National Plan to Get America Moving

May 11, 2015

Proposed changes to our physical and social environments encourage regular physical activity for Americans throughout the course of the day.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest Rare for Adults Engaged in Sports

Apr 23, 2015

Study highlights the benefits of exercise and sports in middle-aged adults, as well as CPR training.

Is There an Exercise 'Sweet Spot' for Longer Life?

Apr 23, 2015
Two large-scale studies take a close look at meeting or exceeding current exercise guidelines, but one thing is clear: Any physical activity is far better than none.

Strategies for Combatting Childhood Obesity

Apr 07, 2015
Early lifestyle interventions are urgently needed to stop growing childhood obesity rates.

Children of Smokers Have Increased Risk of Heart Disease in Adulthood

Apr 03, 2015

Quitting is the best approach for the health of the family, but limiting children’s exposure to smoke can help.

Exercise Prevents Fall Injuries in Older Women

Apr 03, 2015

Finnish study assesses the effects of Vitamin D and strength training in women prone to falling.

CardioSmart News

Short Hospital Stays after Angioplasty Are Often Sufficient for Older Patients

Mar 31, 2015
Study finds patients 65 or older discharged from the hospital as early as 48 hours after angioplasty following a heart attack have similar outcomes as those who stay four-to-five days.

What Kind of Exercise is Best for Waist Size?

Mar 13, 2015
Both low- and high-impact exercise help us lose weight, but each provides different types of added benefits.
CardioSmart News

Same-Day Discharge after ICD Placement Shown to be Safe

Mar 11, 2015

With appropriate follow-up, eligible patients released the same day do just as well as those kept overnight.

Frailty Increases Risk of Heart Disease in Older Adults

Mar 10, 2015
Addressing early signs of frailty could help ward off heart conditions later in life.

Peanuts: A Low-Cost Food with a High Impact on Health

Mar 10, 2015
The humble legume offers heart-health benefits on par with more expensive nuts.

Cardiomyopathy Increases Heart Risks in Pregnant Women

Mar 10, 2015
Women who develop diseases of the heart muscle during pregnancy have the greatest risk of complications.

Moderate Physical Activity Benefits the Heart the Most

Feb 27, 2015

Study finds that women who exercise moderately—not strenuously—a few times a week have lower risk for heart attack and stroke.

Sauna Use Linked to Improved Heart Health

Feb 27, 2015
Study follows sauna bathers for over two decades and finds lower rates of sudden cardiac death among most frequent users.

Underestimating a Rare Heart Condition in Pregnant Women

Feb 17, 2015
Peripartum cardiomyopathy is underdiagnosed and may be more common than previously estimated.
CardioSmart News

Angioplasty for Patients with Chronic Blockages Underutilized

Feb 17, 2015
Researchers in an almost 4-year study found that angioplasty for patients with chronic blockages made up only 3.8% of the total number of angioplasties performed for stable heart disease.

Survey: 1 in 3 Americans Prefers Shorter Life to Daily Pill

Feb 06, 2015

Researchers explore the uptake of a preventive heart disease medicine.

Running for Health? Moderation is Key

Feb 02, 2015

You don’t have to be a marathon runner to reap full benefits, according to a new study.

Study Questions Strict Sodium Guidelines for Older Adults

Jan 28, 2015

Reducing sodium intake to less than 1,500 mg a day may be excessive for older adults.

Ability to Process Nicotine Linked to Efficacy of Patch vs. Pill

Jan 26, 2015
How quickly smokers metabolize nicotine may impact whether the nicotine patch or Chantix works best, finds study.

Experts Emphasize the Importance of Cardiac Rehabilitation

Jan 26, 2015
Despite its value and importance, cardiac rehab is vastly underutilized by patients.
CardioSmart News

Physician Sleep Deprivation Has No Significant Effect on Angioplasty Outcomes

Jan 20, 2015
According to a new study, patients undergoing angioplasty performed by a sleep-deprived doctor fared about the same as those whose doctor was rested.

Report Raises Awareness for Health Effects of Air Pollution

Dec 23, 2014
A thorough review of studies highlights the negative impact of air pollution on heart health.

Daily Aspirin Fails to Prevent Heart Attack, Stroke in Older Adults Free of Heart Disease

Dec 23, 2014
A large Japanese study finds no association between once-daily, low-dose aspirin and risk for heart attack, stroke or death in older adults.

Keeping Added Calories in Check: Sugars and Sweeteners

Dec 03, 2014
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Americans today consume nearly 20% more added sugar in their daily diet than they did 40 years ago.

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