DISEASES OF THE HEART MUSCLE

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In our earlier blogs, we concentrated on the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart. In our next few blogs we will concentrate on the muscle of heart itself.

The heart is not a complicated organ. It is primarily a muscle whose main job is to pump blood throughout the body.

Congestive heart failure and cardiomyopathy are diseases of the heart muscle. An electrical system triggers this muscle to beat in a coordinated and efficient manner. The hearts valve then open and close, allowing the blood to flow efficiently through its four chambers. As the primary muscle with the responsibility of pumping life giving blood to every organ in the body, the heart must continue beating consistently at all times and therefore has remarkably high energy requirements.

Congestive heart failure and cardiomyopathy have numerous causes; and hypertension, repeated or severe heart attacks, viral infection, and infiltrative heart diseases like lupus or scleroderma to name a few. In each case the disease weakens the strength of the heart muscle so that it s unable to handle the amount of blood it receives from the body. The heart tries to compensate for its weakened state by dilating and beating faster. But blood eventually backs up into the lungs, filling them with fluid. This is called congestive heart failure. The patient essentially begins to drown in his or her own fluid. Sometimes failure occurs primarily on the right side of the heart, which means the liver becomes congested and the patients legs begin to swell.

 

When one’s heart becomes severely weakened and dilated, doctors call this cardiomyopathy. Cardiomyopathy is a very severe case of congestive heart failure. An uncommonly large, dilated heart is its hallmark.