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Dilated Cardiomyopathy: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

What is the treatment? How is the treatment done? Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?) Who is not eligible for the treatment? Are there any side effects? What are the post-treatment guidelines? How long does it take to recover? What is the price of the treatment in India? Are the results of the treatment permanent? What are the alternatives to the treatment?

What is the treatment?

The disease is also known as Ischemic Cardiomyopathy

How is the treatment done?

Dilated Cardiomyopathy occurs due to the abnormal functioning of the left ventricle. The left ventricle is the chamber of the heart from where the heart starts pumping blood. So generally, the disfunctioning of this part of the heart leads to insufficient and ineffective blood flow to the body. Hence, the stretching and thinning down of the ventricle in the heart leads to a condition called dilated Cardiomyopathy. Patients suffering from this disease may not identify the symptoms unless it becomes a major disease. It could lead to a sudden heart attack. The patient may even suffer from abnormal heartbeats and insufficient flow of blood in the body.

If you have a family history of Cardiomyopathy, it is good to see a doctor if you develop any of these symptoms. Shortness of breath, inability to walk long distances, fatigue, getting tired very soon, experiencing chest pain, swelling in the limbs / abdominal portion are some of the pointers when you should consult a doctor as early as possible. To find out the extent of your illness, your doctor would suggest undergoing blood tests, having a chest X-ray done, ECG or electrocardiogram , exercise stress etc. After screening the results of the above tests your doctor may suggest suitable drugs in your treatment. Usually a single drug may not benefit the patient to a desirable extent; hence a combination of drugs is usually prescribed to him.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

Dilated Cardiomyopathy is usually associated with genetic conditions, so your doctor may even suggest a genetic screening test to ascertain the reason behind your illness. Your tests may even include an MRI scan plus a cardiac catheterization for better diagnosis. Once the test results are in and your doctor is sure of the causes behind your condition, he would start suitable treatment thereafter.

A combination of drugs normally prescribed in this condition include ACE inhibitors or Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, Angiotensin II receptor blockers, beta blockers, diuretics, digoxin and other medications to keep your blood thin and free flowing. These medications aid in dilating the ventricles and letting the heart muscles perform normal functioning. They are also helpful in reducing your blood pressure since abnormal pumping of blood leads to increase in blood pressure. These drugs help you to stay active and fit and avoid unwanted stress in your body. They provide good stamina to the heart muscle and lowers abnormally high heart beat rates.

If your condition has progressed to advanced stages, your doctor may need to go a step ahead and suggest implanting devices in your heart to co-ordinate its functionality properly. For this, the doctors may suggest pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators. Since the left ventricle is where all the major action takes place, it may need external assistance in case of this condition. Hence left ventricular assist devices are common implants used to treat your condition in advanced stages. If the situation does not show much progress even after administering medications and providing implants, you may need a heart transplant altogether to treat your condition.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Any person who has been diagnosed with dilated Cardiomyopathy is eligible to get the treatment. If you have been suffering from long periods of chest pain, experiencing breathlessness and have been a victim of fatigue, you should quickly go for a special diagnosis. The right treatment includes a combined medicinal intake along with good diet plans along with suggested simple exercises without stressing out too much. Walking is always a good option to keep your heart healthy and its best to follow your doctor’s advice carefully.

Are there any side effects?

Any person who is not suffering from dilated Cardiomyopathy is not eligible for the treatment. If you have been experiencing fatigue conditions or have shortness of breath, it could also be due t other medical conditions. An anemic state of the body may also cause similar fatigue of your system in which case, proper medications need to be given to increase the blood count and not for a heart trouble.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Some of the treatments mentioned above come with their own list of side effects. For instance, using ACE inhibitors could cause many occasions of low blood pressure in your system. Long overdoses of the combined medication are known to have its own side effects on your kidney and liver functioning. Beta blockers may cause dizziness and muscle cramps at times. Though blood thinning medications are known to have a good effect on letting the heart ventricles pump blood smoothly, they have their own side effects when you accidentally have an injury. Even a small cut on your finger would leave you with plenty of blood loss, hence proper care has to be taken appropriately.

How long does it take to recover?

The actual reason for dilated Cardiomyopathy could be genetic factors, heavy alcoholism, thyroid diseases or even diabetes. Once your doctor prescribes proper medicine to handle your situation, it’s very important to follow a good diet plan. Dilated Cardiomyopathy is usually associated with high blood pressure. Hence a diet that is low in sodium should be followed. This is the most important change that should happen in your diet. The salt intake in your diet on a daily basis should not go beyond 2000 to 3000 mg per day. Avoid foods that are rich in concentrated salt components. Pickles, sauce and ketchups have very high rates of concentrated salt in them, hence should not be consumed at all. Processed and fried foods should also be avoided. Following a light exercise routine without indulging in heavy weight lifting routines will help in your recovery.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

Dilated Cardiomyopathy is an irreversible situation. The life expectancy of the patient reduces drastically. Medications and treatments are only to help the patient deal with the illness in a better way and lead a normal lifestyle. With proper care and medications, coupled with a good diet plan, a patient can help keep his heart beat normal and maintain normal blood pressure. He can avoid blood clots and prevent swelling of his limbs and abdomen.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Medicines usually include a combination of drugs prescribed by the doctor. Individual drugs come at varied prices, each drug having different price ranges. For example ACE inhibitors could be priced starting from 10 onwards and blood thinners, particularly coagulants could start from 700 and upwards. So the right combination will help determine the effective price. If your doctor has suggested implanting a pacemaker, the procedure for the same could range anywhere between 45,000 to 1.5 lakh and above.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

There is nothing as a permanent solution for treating dilated Cardiomyopathy and the results of treatment are not permanent. Treatment brings in stability to the patient’s condition and helps him follow a normal lifestyle. It keeps his blood pressure under control and regulates normal functioning of the heart muscles.

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