Infiltrated Cardiomyopathy

What is infiltrated cardiomyopathy?

Cardiomyopathy is a generic term that is used to cover a wide variety of heart muscle diseases, including infiltrated cardiomyopathy or restrictive cardiomyopathy. Restrictive cardiomyopathy occurs when the normally pliable heart muscles become stiff and scar tissue begins to build up. The heart muscle can no longer relax between heart contractions, and this prevents the heart from filling with the necessary amount of blood required for the heart to function properly.

This can also cause what is known as heart block, which is the inability of the heart to send signals telling the heart to beat. Pacemakers are sometimes used to keep the heart beating normally. However, because heart failure can also occur, most people suffering from restrictive cardiomyopathy require heart transplants as a long-term solution.

It is important to understand that an improperly functioning heart affects the rest of the body as well. When the heart cannot pump blood properly, all organs and body functions suffer.

Understanding infiltrative cardiomyopathy

Infiltrated cardiomyopathy, which is also known as restrictive cardiomyopathy, is a disease of the heart muscle. This type of cardiomyopathy typically occurs in those 50 years or older and it affects both men and women.

Cardiomyopathy is the leading cause of heart transplants, it is essential to understand this disease and its causes, so that you can keep your heart healthier as you age.

Common causes of infiltrated cardiomyopathy

Restrictive cardiomyopathy is rare in the United States. Infiltrated cardiomyopathy is most often caused by chemo or radiation treatments, scarring of the heart muscle, extremely high levels of iron in the blood, tumors in the heart, and diseases of the lining of the heart.

Infiltrated cardiomyopathy can also be caused by diseases such as sarcoidosis, which causes abnormal tissues to form in the body’s organs. Scleroderma is another disease that can cause cardiomyopathy. Scleroderma has no known cause, but causes scar tissue to form in the skin. It also causes damage to the arteries inside the body by targeting the cells that line the walls of the arteries.

Cardiac amyloidosis is a disease in which clumps of abnormal proteins are deposited inside the heart. The proteins take the place of regular heart tissue, which causes the heart muscle to become stiff. Cardiac amyloidosis can be inherited, but it can also be caused by other diseases like blood and bone cancer. Diseases that cause inflammation may also cause cardiac amyloidosis to develop.

Keeping your heart healthy

While not all causes of cardiomyopathy can be avoided, there are many things that you can do to keep your heart healthy and reduce your risk of developing infiltrated or restricted cardiomyopathy. Here are several practical ways to reduce your risk of heart problems.

See your doctor

It is incredibly important to make sure that any medical problems you currently have are being treated. This is especially true for diseases that can cause restrictive cardiomyopathy such as inflammation, protein buildup, and others.

Eat a healthy diet

Eat well. Heart health begins with your diet. A heart-healthy diet that includes lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, and nutritious grains will reduce the risk of heart attack, which can scar your heart muscle and cause the heart muscle to die.

Avoid foods that are high in sodium, as they can increase your risk of blood pressure problems. Be sure to consume healthy fats and avoid bad fats, watch your cholesterol, and avoid foods high in sugar.

Exercise

Your heart is a muscle, and just like any muscle in your body, it needs exercise to keep it healthy. Regular exercise, whether walking, running, or hitting the gym, is good for your heart and your body. Exercise also helps to keep your body weight at a healthy level, which reduces stress on your heart.

Change your habits

Although it is not easy, keeping your heart as healthy as possible will require you to give up your bad habits. This includes bad habits such as smoking and drinking.

However, you should also reduce the amount of stress in your life. Stress is a major risk factor for heart disease. Lack of sleep can be damaging as well. Ensure that you are getting plenty of sleep. A healthy, rested body is less likely to suffer from health problems.

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Last Reviewed:
August 21, 2017
Last Updated:
October 18, 2017