What is peripartum cardiomyopathy?
Peripartum cardiomyopathy may be a rare sort of coronary failure . It occurs during pregnancy or immediately after delivery. The condition weakens the guts muscle and causes the guts to become enlarged. As a result, the guts can’t pump blood properly to the remainder of the body.
According to the American Heart Association, this heart disease affects about 1,000 to 1,300 women within the us annually . Women usually receive a diagnosis during the last month of their pregnancies or within five months of delivery.
What are the causes of peripartum cardiomyopathy?
Your heart pumps up to 50 percent more blood during pregnancy. This is because you've got to transfer oxygen and vital nutrients to your growing baby. There’s no definitive cause of peripartum cardiomyopathy. However, doctors believe this condition occurs when the additional pumping of blood combines with other risk factors. This combination places additional stress on the heart.
Who is at risk for peripartum cardiomyopathy?
A variety of risk factors can increase your chances of developing this condition, including:
Ø high blood pressure
Ø personal history of heart disease including myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle)
Ø multiple pregnancies
Ø being over the age of 30
Ø premature delivery medications
What are the symptoms of peripartum cardiomyopathy?
Symptoms of peripartum cardiomyopathy are almost like symptoms of coronary failure . You may experience:
Ø rapid heartbeat or palpitations
Ø chest pain
Ø excessive fatigue
Ø tiredness during physical activity
Ø shortness of breath
Ø swelling of feet and ankles
Ø increased urination at night
How is peripartum cardiomyopathy diagnosed?
Your doctor will review your symptoms and perform a physical exam. A device called a stethoscope may be used to help the doctor listen for crackling noises in the lungs and abnormal sounds in the heart. Your doctor will also test your blood pressure. It may be lower than normal and could drop significantly when you stand up.
A variety of imaging tests can measure your heart. These tests also determine the speed of blood flow. Some of these imaging tests also can view potential lung damage. Tests may include:
Ø X-ray of the entire chest
Ø CT scan for detailed pictures of the heart
Ø nuclear heart scan to show heart chambers
Ø sound waves to create moving pictures of the heart (echocardiogram)
What are the treatment options for peripartum cardiomyopathy?
Women who develop this condition remain within the hospital until their symptoms are in check . And your doctor will recommend treatment supported the severity of your condition. Peripartum cardiomyopathy heart damage is irreversible. But, a damaged heart can still function for an extended time, counting on the severity of the damage. The severity of the damage also will determine whether a heart transplant is required.
The outlook for ladies diagnosed with peripartum cardiomyopathy is sweet for those whose hearts return to normal size after delivery. This happens for between 30-50 percent of women. In all cases, 4 percent of patients require a heart transplant, and 9 percent die as results of the guts transplant procedure.
Doctors recommend a heart transplant or a balloon heart pump in severe cases. For most women, however, treatment involves managing and reducing symptoms.
Your doctor may prescribe the following medications to control your symptoms:
Ø beta-blockers: drugs that reduce blood pressure and improve blood flow by blocking the adrenaline hormone
Ø digitalis: drugs that strengthen the heart to improve pumping and circulation
Ø diuretics: drugs that lower blood pressure by removing excess water and salt from the body
Women with this condition can also got to follow a low-sodium diet to manage their vital sign . They should avoid alcohol and tobacco products entirely. These products can make symptoms worse.
Peripartum cardiomyopathy can affect your health for the remainder of your life, even after successful treatment. Follow through with regular checkups and take all medications as directed.
How can I prevent peripartum cardiomyopathy?
Certain lifestyle habits can decrease your risk. This is especially important for first time mothers. Focus on:
Ø getting regular exercise
Ø eating a low-fat diet
Ø avoiding cigarettes
Ø avoiding alcohol
Women who receive a diagnosis of peripartum cardiomyopathy are in danger for developing the condition with future pregnancies. In these cases, women may consider taking birth control to prevent pregnancies.
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