Fibromyalgia seems to also trigger several other conditions. Those who suffer from it usually complain of other conditions that range from fatigue to constant itch. But one the most dangerous conditions accompanying fibromyalgia is cardiomyopathy. This condition can trigger heart attacks as well as other serious health risks. Cardiomyopathy in fibromyalgia is common to a certain group of patients.
What Is Cardiomyopathy?
Cardiomyopathy is a disease of heart muscles. Your heart is made of muscles that expand and contract to pump blood all over your body. The blood then travels into your veins and provide oxygen for your cells. Without blood, your body cells die.
With cardiomyopathy your heart muscles are enlarged and stiff. This can be dangerous because it can weaken heart muscles and hinder blood flow to the rest of your body. This leads to serious complications as your cells fail get sufficient oxygen. Furthermore, it can become fatal when the blood flow to your brain is cut. Fortunately, severe cases like these are rare.
Cardiomyopathy comes in varying types and severity. In most cases, the symptoms of cardiomyopathy may not be obvious for some and may even come and go on its own for others. Not everyone who suffers from cardiomyopathy needs treatment and can still lead a healthy life. However, for some, the disease can escalate quickly and shows severe symptoms and complications, when left untreated.
Symptoms of Cardiomyopathy include:
- Being dizzy or lightheaded
- Feeling faint during exercise
- Chest pain following exercise or large meals
- Irregular heartbeat or arrhythmias
- Heart murmurs
Severe Cardiomyopathy can lead to heart failure showing signs of:
- Breathing difficulties during exercise
- Swelling in various body parts e.g. legs, ankles and feet, abdomen and neck veins
What Causes Cardiomyopathy In fibromyalgia
There are so many things that can lead to cardiomyopathy. Chronic high blood pressure, infections, drug abuse, as well as autoimmune diseases can all lead to this condition. But what is more interesting is that cardiomyopathy is found in some people who have fibromyalgia. There has been no study that can explain this yet, however, the fact that some believe that fibromyalgia is a type of autoimmune disease might be the clue. As mentioned, autoimmune diseases could lead to cardiomyopathy. Hence, if it is really true that fibromyalgia is a type of autoimmune condition, this can be the reason of cardiomyopathy in fibromyalgia.
An FDA survey reported that 70% of fibromyalgia patients who also suffer from cardiomyopathy are female over the age of 50. Hence, suggesting that this group of patients is most susceptible to cardiomyopathy in fibromyalgia. The report also states that Lyrica is the most common medication administered in fibro patients who has cardiomyopathy at 36%. However, there were no analysis and explanation to the findings and research is needed to draw any conclusion.
The good news is that cardiomyopathy can be treated. The first thing to do is to make changes in your lifestyle in order to have a healthier heart. The changes include:
- Regular exercise to strengthen your heart
- Have a healthy or balanced diet filled with fresh fruits and vegetables and reduce junk food
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Limiting stress
There are also medications that can treat this condition. One of these is the anti-arrhythmics, which is a class of drug that can help to limit the heart flutters. Your doctor may also prescribe you with medications that can help to lower blood pressure as high blood pressure can increase your risk of heart diseases, including cardiomyopathy.
If you suspect that you have cardiomyopathy, visit a doctor for diagnosis. Your doctor will be able to listen for sounds that suggest cardiomyopathy with a stethoscope. If necessary, your doctor will also recommend you to go for other diagnostic tests like blood test, X-rays etc.