In most cases, you cannot prevent cardiomyopathy. You can take steps to lower your risks that may lead to or exacerbate the symptoms. Inform your WellStar Cardiac Network Physician if you have a family history of cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure or cardiac arrest.
Reduce Your Risk of Cardiomyopathy
You can lower your chances of cardiomyopathy through several methods:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Don’t smoke or drink excessive alcohol
- Eat healthy foods and reduce sodium intake
- Exercise as recommended by your WellStar physician
- Monitor cardiac risk factors, such as high blood pressure and diabetes
Tests and Screenings for Cardiomyopathy
Your WellStar physician will conduct a physical examination and look over your personal and family medical history. Through a physical, your physician can determine if you have a heart murmur or swelling in your legs or abdomen or other signs of cardiomyopathy or related conditions.
Based on the exam, your physician might order:
- Chest X-ray to determine whether your heart has become enlarged
- Blood tests to check kidney and thyroid functions, and B-type natriuretic peptide, a protein produced in the upper heart chambers that may be increased in the presence of congestive heart failure
- Electrocardiogram (ECG) to record the electrical activity of your heart, looking for arrhythmia or prior heart attacks
- Echocardiogram, an ultrasound test, designed to show the pumping performance of your heart as well as the heart’s valvular structure and function
- Cardiac stress tests, which measure your hearts performance during exertion
- Cardiac computerized tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Cardiac catheterization (and infrequently biopsy), in which a thin, flexible tube (catheter) is inserted into your groin or arm and guided through the aorta and the vena cava, to obtain pressure measurements and evaluate the arteries. Your cardiologist will be looking for valve defects, elevated pressures or blockages.