Symptoms of a Weak Heart Caused by Heart Disease

Cardiomyopathy is a form of heart disease consisting of four distinct types. Each type of cardiomyopathy weakens the heart and makes pumping blood throughout the body a challenge. Left untreated, cardiomyopathy could lead to an individual needing a surgically-implanted device or even a heart transplant; therefore, recognizing the symptoms and then seeking treatment is vital.

What Does a Weak Heart Due to Heart Disease Feel Like?

During the early stages of cardiomyopathy, an individual may not experience any signs or symptoms; however, as this disease progresses, symptoms usually become evident.

Symptoms associated with a weakened heart include:

  • Coughing while lying down
  • Abdominal bloating due to a buildup of fluid in the abdomen
  • Shortness of breath upon exertion or while at rest
  • Inflammation in the lower extremities, including the feet and the ankles
  • A lack of energy
  • Lightheadedness/Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Discomfort or pressure in the chest
  • Pounding, rapid or fluttering heartbeats

Unless treatment is sought, chances are these symptoms will worsen. The pace at which these kinds of cardiac problems will advance varies, for some people the condition remains stable for quite some time; whereas, for others, it progresses quickly.

The 4 Types of Cardiomyopathy and Their Causes

There are four types of cardiomyopathy:

  1. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy — this form of the disease is characterized by a thickening of the heart muscle, predominantly affecting the heart’s core pumping chamber (i.e., the left ventricle). The disease has caused the muscle to thicken; therefore, the heart must work harder. The majority of people with this form of cardiomyopathy have inherited it. In addition, certain genetic mutations have also been linked to this disease. Moreover, this type of cardiomyopathy is typically the most severe when it develops during childhood.
  2. Dilated cardiomyopathy — the left ventricle becomes dilated (enlarged), which limits its ability to effectively pump the blood out of the heart. Although this form of cardiomyopathy can affect people of every age, it usually affects individuals whose ages range from 45 to 65 years. Men are more likely to have this form of the disease than women are. The most common cause of dilated cardiomyopathy is a heart attack or coronary artery disease.
  3. Restrictive cardiomyopathy — this form of the disease is characterized by the heart muscle becoming rigid, losing elasticity to the point that it can no longer expand enough to fill with blood between each heartbeat. This type of cardiomyopathy is rare and although it can occur at any age, it usually affects the elderly. The reason an individual develops restricted cardiomyopathy may be unknown or it may be due to a disease present somewhere else in the body that is affecting his or her heart.
  4. Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia — this form of cardiomyopathy is rare.  It involves the muscle in the lower right chamber of the heart (i.e., right ventricle) being replaced by scar tissue: This replacement of the muscle may lead to problems with rhythm. This form of cardiomyopathy is frequently the result of genetic mutations.

Any other type of cardiomyopathy that does not meet the characteristics listed above is categorized as an ‘unclassified cardiomyopathy.’

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, contact Tri-City Cardiology today at 480-835-6100 to make an appointment with one of our board-certified cardiologists. With six, conveniently-located, state-of-the-art offices and a group of dedicated, caring medical professionals, at Tri-City Cardiology, we can address all of your cardiovascular needs.