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Spotting Symptoms of Cardiomyopathy and Pericarditis

January 8, 2010

Over the past several posts we’ve looked at ways of recognizing the symptoms of a variety of heart diseases. With this post, we’ll conclude the series.

Symptoms of Cardiomyopathy

Symptoms of Heart DiseaseMany people with cardiomyopathy, also known as Heart Muscle Disease, have no symptoms or only minor symptoms, and live a normal life. Other people develop symptoms, which progress and worsen as heart function worsens.

Symptoms of cardiomyopathy can occur at any age and may include:

  • Chest pain or pressure (which occurs usually with exercise or physical activity, but can also occur with rest or after meals).
  • Heart failure symptoms (see our previous post).
  • Swelling of the lower extremities.
  • Fatigue.
  • Fainting.
  • Palpitations (fluttering in the chest due to abnormal heart rhythms).
  • Some people also have arrhythmias (see our previous post). These can lead to sudden death in a small number of people with cardiomyopathy.

Symptoms of Pericarditis

Pericarditis is an inflammation of the fibrous sac surrounding the heart, which is known as the pericardium. When present, symptoms of pericarditis may include:

  • Chest pain - This pain is different from angina, the pain caused by coronary artery disease. It may be sharp and located in the center of the chest. The pain may radiate to the neck and occasionally, the arms and back. It is made worse when lying down, taking a deep breath in, coughing, or swallowing and relieved by sitting forward.
  • Low-grade fever.
  • Increased heart rate.

Because many of the symptoms associated with each type of heart disease are similar, it is important to see your cardiologist so that you can receive a correct diagnosis and prompt treatment.