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How to Prevent Cardiomyopathy: 4 Ways To Start a Heart-Healthy Life

How to Prevent Cardiomyopathy: 4 Ways To Start a Heart-Healthy Life

Cardiomyopathy is characterized by the stiffening, thickening, or thinning of the cardiac or heart muscle. Preventing cardiomyopathy, as well as other heart diseases, is always better than treating it when it’s diagnosed. Learn more about how to prevent cardiomyopathy, and what certain measures you can take for your heart’s health.

What happens in Cardiomyopathy?

Depending on its type, cardiomyopathy can affect several parts of the myocardium (heart muscle). This can cause problems in the functions of the heart.

As the disease progresses, cardiomyopathy can weaken the heart and make it less efficient. The condition can also affect how the heart contracts or relaxes.

This can lead to problems such as irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), stroke, or even heart failure.

Some types of cardiomyopathy include:

  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)
  • Transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy (ATTR-CM)
  • Restrictive Cardiomyopathy
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy
  • Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia

Doctors are unsure about the exact cause of cardiomyopathy. In some cases, a mutation in a particular gene that’s inherited from family members can cause cardiomyopathy. Another possible cause could also be other related diseases that can cause heart disease.

This is why many may assume that cardiomyopathy can’t be prevented. However, some lifestyle factors can also play a role in increasing one’s risk of cardiomyopathy.

Here’s how to prevent cardiomyopathy.

How to Prevent Cardiomyopathy

The first step of reducing your risk of cardiomyopathy is to be completely aware of any harmful habits you have. It’s also important how to turn these habits around for the better.

Below are some ways you can prevent cardiomyopathy:

Treat illnesses that can put you at risk

Some diseases can make you more at risk of cardiomyopathy. If you’ve already been diagnosed with a heart condition, it’s best to seek treatment and stick to it.

Below are some of the diseases that are associated with heart disease:

  • Diabetes – High glucose levels in the blood caused by diabetes can result in damage to the blood vessels or nerves controlling the heart. Diabetes can also cause something called diabetic cardiomyopathy.
  • Hypertension – When a person has hypertension, or high blood pressure, they have a higher than normal pressure in their arteries. This causes the heart to work overtime, as it has to pump against a higher pressure. This can lead to thickening of the heart muscle.
  • Coronary Heart Disease – Ischemic cardiomyopathy is a type of cardiomyopathy that happens because of ischemia, a lack of blood supplied to the heart. Ischemia is usually caused by coronary heart disease.

Quit smoking and avoid tobacco use

Smoking is a harmful habit that usually does more harm than good.

Every time you smoke, the heart works twice as hard to pump blood because of narrowed blood vessels. An overworked heart can lead to problems such as thickening of the heart muscles, high blood pressure, and an irregular heartbeat.

If you’re an active smoker, it’s best to stop smoking for good. Resources such as a support group or even therapy can help you take the first step towards a smoke-free life.

How Your Health Improves After Quitting Smoking: A Timeline

Get Active

It’s no secret that exercise and physical activity is a good way to protect your heart. Getting enough exercise can help prevent cardiomyopathy or even other diseases that can overwork your heart.

However, you should not jump into a whole one hour workout right away. If you haven’t been very active, 10-15 minutes of low-impact exercises should be enough for a few weeks. Also, make sure to stretch before and after your exercise.

The goal of exercising against heart disease is not to bulk-up or gain muscles right away.

Incorporating physical fitness into your day-to-day activities, such as walking to work, can already have a positive impact on your health.

Watch what you eat

What you put in your body can influence the overall condition of your health. Although eating healthier is easier said than done, tweaking your present diet to make it heart-healthy might not be as difficult as it seems.

What makes up a heart-healthy diet?

Sometimes, what you eat isn’t all that bad. However, how much you eat is also an important consideration when it comes to diet. Too much of anything is rarely a good thing, which is why the first step to a heart-healthy diet is sticking to healthy portions of what you eat.

One way to lessen your portions is to use your hand as a guide or use smaller plates. Taking note of how frequently and how much you eat can also help you determine if your eating habits need a major makeover.

You can also discuss a diet low in salt with your doctor. One variation called the DASH diet is a lifelong approach to treat or prevent hypertension using healthy eating.

Food Portions: An Easy Hand Guide

Be wary of what you eat. It’s always a good idea to increase your fruit and vegetable intake. Also, avoiding food rich in trans fat is also recommended especially if you want to avoid heart disease.

Key Takeaways

Cardiomyopathy is a heart disease that primarily affects the muscles that enable the heart to pump blood throughout the body.

Preventing this cardiovascular disease is much easier compared to treating it. Simple habits such as eating healthier and striving to get more exercise greatly reduces one’s risk of this disease.

Learn more about cardiomyopathy, here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Cardiovascular diseases https://www.who.int/health-topics/cardiovascular-diseases/#tab=tab_1 Accessed November 25, 2020

Cardiomyopathy https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/cardiomyopathy Accessed November 25, 2020

Diabetes, Heart Disease, Stroke https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-problems/heart-disease-stroke Accessed November 25, 2020

Hypertensive Heart Disease https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000163.htm Accessed November 25, 2020

Ischemic Cardiomyopathy https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17145-ischemic-cardiomyopathy Accessed November 25, 2020

Smoking and Heart Disease https://www.cardiosmart.org/topics/healthy-living/stop-smoking/smoking-and-heart-disease Accessed November 25, 2020

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Written by Kip Soliva Updated Jun 10
Medically reviewed by Mia Dacumos, M.D.
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