Cardiomyopathy is a term used to describe a disease of the heart muscle. The name means: CARDIO - heart, MYO - muscle, PATHY - disease.
Currently it is not known how many people in Australia have the condition, but a general estimate suggests that perhaps one in five hundred may be affected.
The main types of cardiomyopathy are:
- Dilated or 'enlarged' heart, the most common form
- Hypertrophic, or 'thickened muscle'
- Arrhythmogenic right ventricular, a more unusual form associated with arrhythmias
- Restrictive, or 'stiff' heart, the least common
- Ischaemic, medically induced ??
- Takotsubo, believed to be brought on by stressful events
- Left ventricular noncompaction,where the walls of the left ventricle are spongy
- Peripartum, which happens during pregnancy
More information on these types of cardiomyopathy can be found in the next sections.