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Cardiomyopathy Awareness Week | June 20 – 26, 2022

The 2022 inaugural Global Heart Hub Cardiomyopathy Awareness Week Campaign aims to improve awareness, diagnosis and management of cardiomyopathy. The 2022 campaign theme is ‘Get to the heart of it’.

The awareness campaign is led by the Cardiomyopathy Patient Council of the Global Heart Hub. The Cardiomyopathy Patient Council was formed in November 2021 and brings together patient organisations across the world to increase awareness and understanding of cardiomyopathy. The Patient Council advocates for improved diagnosis of the condition, access to appropriate testing, counselling and treatments. In addition, the Council aims to raise awareness and improve understanding of the disease, with a view to enabling people to live well with the condition.

About Cardiomyopathy:

  • Cardiomyopathy is a family of diseases that affect the heart muscle: ‘cardio’ means heart, ‘myo’ means muscle and ‘pathy’ means disease. It isn’t a single condition, but a group of conditions that affect the structure of the heart and reduce its ability to pump blood around the body.
  • Cardiomyopathy can have a number of different causes depending on the type of cardiomyopathy. However, in many cases it is a genetic condition that can be passed down through families.
  • Cardiomyopathy can make your heart stiffen, enlarge or thicken and can cause scar tissue. As a result, your heart can’t pump blood effectively to the rest of your body.
  • The most common types of cardiomyopathy are:
    • Dilated cardiomyopathy: Your heart’s blood-pumping chambers enlarge (dilate).
    • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: Your heart muscle thickens.
    • Arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy (ACM): Disease in your heart muscle causes irregular heart rhythms.
  • Treatment for cardiomyopathy may include medications, lifestyle changes or surgery. Although there is no cure for cardiomyopathy, you can manage the condition. People who receive treatment can live a high quality of life with cardiomyopathy.

Know The Symptoms of Cardiomyopathy

Some people living with cardiomyopathy never have signs or symptoms, while others don’t have signs or symptoms in the early stages of the disease. Common symptoms of cardiomyopathy include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling in the ankles, feet, legs and abdomen
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fainting during physical activity
  • Arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats)
  • Chest pain, especially after physical exertion
  • Heart murmurs

Key messages:

  • Cardiomyopathy is a family of diseases that affect the heart muscle and its ability to pump blood through the body. It’s a serious condition, but uncommon and can be managed.
  • Cardiomyopathy can affect anyone of any age or race.
  • Cardiomyopathy is not well known – it’s often misdiagnosed or undetected, so it’s important to know what to look out for. In some people it can be life-threatening.
  • Getting diagnosed early can give you the protection you need to live safely with your condition and minimise the risk of sudden cardiac death.

Call to action:

  • Speak to your doctor if you’re feeling exhausted, out of breath, dizzy or have palpitations, chest pain, or swelling in the ankles, feet, legs or abdomen; and tell your doctor about your family’s history of heart disease or sudden unexplained death, because cardiomyopathy often runs in families and it’s important to protect loved ones who may not have any symptoms.
  • If you think that something is not right, seek help and get to the heart of it.

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