HEART disease is still one of the top killer diseases in the country. Five out of 10 Filipinos die of heart disease, according to a data from the National Statistics Office.
Each year, 17 million people die of cardiovascular diseases worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.
One of the reasons for developing heart disease is the damage in the heart muscles resulting from cardiomyopathy.
Cardiologist Dr. Kurt Jacoba, told Radyo Klinika, that “pathy” means there’s an abnormality in the heart muscle. Several conditions can cause cardiomyopathy, particularly certain diseases involved in the blood circulation. Hypertension and diabetes could cause enlargement of the heart (cardiomegaly), which could lead to damage in the heart muscles.
Aside from diabetes and hypertension, coronary artery disease, thyroid disease, viral hepatitis, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other viral infections that inflame the heart muscle, and pregnancy complications can cause cardiomyopathy.
Toxins like cobalt and alcohol abuse coupled with poor nutrition can also lead to cardiomyopathy. Drugs such as amphetamines and cocaine and some medicines that are used to treat cancer, specifically doxorubicin and daunorubicin could also cause this disease.
Cardiomyopathy could also be inherited from parents or other relatives who have the same condition.
A person who has cardiomyopathy will have a hard time breathing as his heart is restricted from pumping blood throughout the body, and its electrical rhythm is hampered as well, according to Dr. Jacoba. Water could also fill up the lungs and can go to the other parts of the body such as the legs, feet and abdomen.
Dr. Jacoba said that the patient experiences fatigue, chest pain, lowering of blood pressure and his albumin (protein that is being produced by the liver) gets low.
There are four main types of cardiomyopathy. Dr. Jacoba said that dilated cardiomyopathy is the most common. Men most commonly have this than women, wherein the lower and upper chambers of the heart are affected by the disease. In this condition, the heart dilates, it stretches and becomes thinner, causing the inside of the chamber to enlarge. This makes the contraction of the heart difficult. When the heart becomes weak, this could lead to heart failure.
Another type is called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The walls of the ventricles thicken and this blocks the blood flow. The thickened muscle won’t be able to hold that much blood, and the walls of the ventricle may also become stiff. This could lead to increased blood pressure. People who have this kind of cardiomyopathy should be careful in engaging in very strenuous physical activity because this could lead to sudden cardiac arrest.
Restrictive cardiomyopathy, the third type, usually affects older people. Abnormal tissues replace the normal heart muscle resulting to enlargement of the hear and reduced blood flow. This can cause irregular heartbeat and heart failure. Diseases such as too much iron in the body (hemochromatosis), inflammation in various organs in the body (sarcoidosis), abnormal protein build up in the body’s organs (amyloidosis) and connective tissue disorders could cause this condition.
Arrythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia, the last type, is rare. The muscle tissue in the right ventricle dies and is replaced with scar tissue, causing the disruption of electrical signals in the heart. Palpitations and fainting after a vigorous physical activity could happen to the patient.
Chest x-ray, electrocardiogram, echocardiography, stress test and blood test can help determine of one has cardiomyopathy.
Dr. Jacoba stressed that the disease could be managed by controlling the predisposing disease, take the necessary medicines or undergo surgery and make lifestyle changes which can improve the health of the heart. This includes cessation of alcohol and illegal drugs consumption, quitting smoking, observe healthy diet and recommended physical activity, reducing stress, getting enough wsleep and losing excess weight.
You can live a healthy life even if you have cardiomyopathy, according to Dr. Jacoba, as long as one follows the recommendations of the health experts.
Radyo Klinika airs Tuesday to Friday, to 8 p.m., on DWIZ 882 KHZ AM. It is the recipient of the KBP Golden Dove Award for Best Radio Magazine Program in 2016. Its host, Marou Pahati-Sarne, is a two-time KBP Golden Dove awardee for Best Radio Magazine Program Host. For partnership in the program, email: email@example.com