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Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Dilated cardiomyopathy is a serious problem that occurs when the heart muscle has become weak and enlarged. It does not have the strength to pump enough blood to the rest of the body.

Symptoms can come on gradually, over months or years. They also can start suddenly, such as after a viral infection or pregnancy. As the heart muscle weakens, a person may feel short of breath, especially when active. Other symptoms include fatigue, problems breathing while lying down, and swelling in the legs. These are symptoms of heart failure.

Most times, dilated cardiomyopathy is treated with several medicines. Changes in eating habits and lifestyle are also important in managing symptoms. These changes include limiting how much salt the person gets from food and drinks.

Last Revised: July 24, 2012

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & George Philippides, MD - Cardiology

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