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Questions for Dr. Kennedy
Welcome to Ask Dr. Kennedy. We encourage you to post your comments and questions here. We look forward to challenging questions as they are an education for us as well as for you. Please consider the following guidelines when posting:

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Cardiomyopathy
Posted by: Angie
Date: September 4, 2000 3:20 AM

I have been diagnosed with cardiomyopathy and I m trying to find out what can be done about it. I am on medication right now. I m looking for some answers as to the survival rate. I am a 47 year old female, don't smoke, drink or abuse drugs.

RE: Cardiomyopathy
Posted by: Ron Kennedy, MD
Date: September 4, 2000 5:12 AM

The cause of the cardiomopathy must be identified, or you are shooting blanks in the dark. The most common cause is coronary artery disease. Heart attacks cause death of heart muscle by obstruction of a coronary artery. While the damage is localized to the region of muscle supplied by that artery, within a few months the entire left ventricle dilates (or remodels) to compensate for the damage. Another common cause of dilated cardiomyopathy is inflammation of the heart muscle, a condition called myocarditis. Myocarditis is most often caused by viral infections, but can also be caused by bacterial infections and by non-infectious causes such as lupus and other inflammatory diseases. Alcohol is another common cause of cardiomyopathy. In some patients alcohol acts as a powerful toxin to heart muscle, directly damaging cardiac cells. Alcoholic cardiomyopathy can be seen after as few of five years of excessive alcohol intake. Valvular heart disease, especially aortic regurgitation and mitral regurgitation, cause dilated cardiomyopathy. The gradual enlargement of the cardiac chambers is an important sign that the time may be right for valve replacement or repair. Nutritional abnormalities – especially a deficiency in vitamin B1 – can cause cardiomyopathy. This form of cardiomyopathy is mostly seen in third world countries, and in alcoholics. Cardiomyopathy sometimes develops in women within a month of delivering a baby. This so-called peripartum cardiomyopathy is the result of a myocarditis that occurs for unknown reasons, associated with childbirth. While many of the affected women recover completely, others develop a rapid and severe dilated cardiomyopathy. There are also genetic forms of dilated cardiomyopathy. While the specific genetic abnormalities producing this problem have not yet been identified, some families are clearly affected by an extremely high incidence of dilated cardiomyopathy. Cardiac “overwork” is another cause of dilated cardiomyopathy. Any condition that causes the heart muscle to work at high loads for prolonged periods of time (weeks or months) can eventually cause cardiac dilation and weakening of the heart muscle. Such conditions include prolonged severe anemia, abnormal sustained tachycardias, chronic hyperthyroidism, and the overwork produced by leaky (regurgitant) heart valves. We are talking about the heart muscle being driven excessively with each and every heart beat. You cannot produce dilated cardiomyopathy by pushing yourself too hard, or not getting enough sleep, or working 16 hours per day, no matter how hard you might try. A very important cause of cardiomyopathy is heavy metal poisoning. This should always be tested. If no other cause is apparent and the patient has dental amalgam, I recommend it be removed followed by testing and treatment for mercury overload.

RE: Cardiomyopathy
Posted by: Angie
Date: September 9, 2000 7:05 PM

Hi Amy,

I am 47 years old and I take pretty good care of myself. The Friday before I found out what was wrong with me I was walking 8 miles a day. The Sunday before my husband and I went to a car show and everything was normal. That night before I went to bed I started coughing. I actually thought I was having an asthma attack. I couldn't lay down or sit up because of the coughing and pressure on my chest. I maybe got about an hour of sleep that night. I called my doctor in the morning and they had me come right in. By the time I got there my heart was racing at 120 my blood presure was normal.The put me on an EKG and ran it 3times. He had me get a chest xray and blood tests done. The next day I had an appointment with the cardiologist. He had put me on some beta blocker medicine to slow my heart beat. The very next day he had me have anEchocardiogram at 8 am. I had it done and ran into himas I left the test. He went in and read the results and by the time I got home which is about 10 mins he had called and left a message with my son to call his office. I did and he had 4 prescriptions for me to take. I am taking lasix, potassum, diovan and lanoxin I was taking zestril but developed a terrible cough from it. I am tryin to find out as much as I can about this disease.
Here is my email address if you would like to chat more. I would really like to be able to chat more with you.
Angie Ferriera, Concord,CA

RE: Cardiomyopathy
Posted by: Amy
Date: September 10, 2000 11:35 PM

Angie i thank you fro your thoughtfulness. If you need to know something that you might not find or if you wish to share something with me i wold greatly apperciate it. You are in my prayers. Amy Behymer of Amelia ohio

RE: Cardiomyopathy
Posted by: Amy
Date: September 10, 2000 11:37 PM

IF you have ne other questions that i might be able to help with you can reach me at
ABeh128971@aol.com
amy

RE: Cardiomyopathy
Posted by: MARY ANN
Date: September 20, 2000 5:16 AM

HEY I JUST READ YOUR POSTINGS AND THERE IS A SPECIALIST IN BIRMINGHAM, ALA. ALSO A CARDIOLOGIST IN MERIDIAN MISSISSIPPI. THAT MAY HELP. DAVID SLIFE 601-553-2000. THE INFO I HAVE FOUND ON CARDIOMYOPAHY IS VERY LIMITED. IT MAY NOT BE A CURE BUT YOU CAN LIVE WITH IT.

RE: Cardiomyopathy
Posted by: Angie
Date: September 20, 2000 2:11 PM

Thank you so much for the information. I will try to get in touch with him.



This Thread has been closed

 




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