- high cholesterol
- high blood pressure (hypertension)
- age (postmenopausal women are at increased risk)
- metabolic syndrome, which is a combination of three or more of these factors: abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, glucose intolerance (also called prediabetes) or high triglycerides combined with low good (HDL) cholesterol
- homocysteine, an amino acid normally found in the body that may be a marker
- C-reactive protein (CRP), a sign of inflammation that may raise your heart disease risk
- pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and pregnancy-induced hypertension
- systemic autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis
3 AnswersHealthyWomen answeredOver the last two decades, researchers have unearthed many risk factors for developing cardiovascular diseases. These include:
1 AnswerHealthyWomen answeredEven if you are under 40 years of age, you should be concerned about heart disease because the lifestyle you lead now may be contributing to atherosclerotic buildup in your arteries -- the beginning of coronary heart disease. Getting regular exercise and eating a diet rich in vegetables and whole grains and low in saturated fat and cholesterol is important to maintaining heart health. All women over the age of 20 should have their blood cholesterol tested every five years and their blood pressure checked every one to two years. Blood pressure is usually checked every time you visit a healthcare professional.
1 AnswerSome effects of cardiomyopathy affect children more than adults.
Dilated cardiomyopathy affects children differently than adults. The main difference is the higher probability of a good outcome in children. Children are more likely to recover from the disease than adults. Approximately one-third of children recover fully, but in most adults, the disease stabilizes or progresses. The chances of survival at 5 years after the onset of symptoms are also higher in children. The better outcome in children is at least partly because dilated cardiomyopathy in children is more likely to be caused by an infection of the heart muscle (myocarditis), whereas the most common cause in adults is coronary artery disease.
2 AnswersDr. Nayab M. Zafar, MD , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered on behalf of Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center
1 AnswerDiuretics prevent your body from retaining fluid. This may cause you to frequent the bathroom, but it will prevent your legs or abdomen from swelling as an effect of cardiomyopathy. Even more importantly, diuretics will prevent fluid from building up in your lungs.
Sometimes in cases of restrictive cardiomyopathy, diuretics can negatively affect the amount of blood the heart receives, so talk to your doctor first.
3 AnswersDr. Nayab M. Zafar, MD , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered on behalf of Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center
1 AnswerRealAge answeredCorlanor (ivabradine) is a drug prescribed to treat certain patients suffering from chronic heart failure. Patients likely to benefit from taking twice-daily Corlanor tablets include those:
- whose lower-left heart is not pumping well
- whose heart failure symptoms are stable
- who are taking beta blockers at the highest dose they can tolerate
- who have a normal resting heartbeat of at least 70 beats per minute.
Corlanor is not recommended for pregnant women or those planning to become pregnant as it may cause fetal harm. Breastfeeding is also discouraged. Patients should report any adverse effects to their doctor right away; these may include dizziness, fatigue, low blood pressure, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, or chest pain. Patients with a history of liver impairment should avoid this drug. Patients are also advised to avoid grapefruit juice and St. John's wort while taking Corlanor.
1 AnswerRealAge answeredCor pulmonale is a serious heart condition that can result in heart failure. It is usually caused by long-term high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs that leads to enlargement and thickening of the right ventricle of the heart. That enlargement and thickening make it harder for the heart to pump blood normally, which ultimately results in heart failure.
The following chronic lung conditions that may cause low oxygen levels in the blood can lead to cor pulmonale:
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- chronic blood clots in the lungs
- cystic fibrosis
- scarring of the lung tissue
- obstructive sleep apnea, which causes periods of stopped breathing during sleep
- shortness of breath and a pounding heart during exercise
- feeling lightheaded
- chest pain
- swelling in the legs, ankles and/or feet
- bluish tint to lips and fingers
Restrictive cardiomyopathy cannot always be prevented. However, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of serious complications from cardiomyopathy. Refrain from substances such as cigarettes, alcohol, and cocaine, which can agitate the heart. If you eat well and exercise regularly, you can also lower your risk.
1 AnswerDr. Anthony L. Komaroff, MD , Internal Medicine, answeredPericardial effusion is the medical term for a buildup of fluid inside the sac that surrounds the heart. This sac, called the pericardium, protects the heart, helps hold it in shape, and prevents it from expanding too much when blood volume increases.
There usually isn't any fluid between the pericardium and the heart muscle. Infection, a heart attack, heart or other surgery, injury, kidney failure, an underactive thyroid, and many other conditions can cause fluid to accumulate in the sac. This buildup can cause pain, interfere with heart function, or go entirely unnoticed.
Managing pericardial effusion depends on what is causing the fluid to accumulate and how fast it is happening. Treating the underlying cause usually eases the problem. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen are often prescribed to calm the inflammation and relieve pain and other symptoms.
If the buildup is preventing the chambers of the heart from fully filling with blood each time they relax, it may be necessary to draw fluid out of the pericardium with a needle. In some cases, heart surgery may be needed to drain fluid or cut away scar tissue.