If you’ve ever woken up with stiff muscles, you know it can be hard to move around or perform your usual daily activities with the same ease. Similarly, our heart muscles need to stay flexible to do their job and pump blood throughout our bodies. Normally, the lower chambers of your heart open to let blood flow in and then contract to pump it back out. In restrictive cardiomyopathy, the heart muscle stiffens and is not able to stretch as it should to pump blood.
Restrictive cardiomyopathy can be caused by a number of things, including scarring of the heart from surgery and a condition called amyloidosis, where abnormal proteins build up in the heart. As restrictive cardiomyopathy progresses, you may develop heart failure. You may notice symptoms such as difficulty breathing at night or when exercising, feeling very tired, or swelling in your legs.
Treatment is usually focused on relieving symptoms and may include medications, lifestyle changes, and the use of a pacemaker to help regulate your heartbeat. Use this condition center to learn more about restrictive cardiomyopathy. You can keep up with the latest research, find questions to ask your doctor, and get tips to help you feel your best.