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Diabetic Cardiomyopathy: Causes to Treatment

Diabetic Cardiomyopathy is a disorder involving the heart muscles in people suffering with diabetes.

In Diabetic cardiomyopathy condition structural and functional changes are produced in the heart muscle (myocardium) due to diabetes. Cardiomyopathy results in incapability of the heart to effectively circulate blood through the body (condition known as heart failure) resulting in peripheral or pulmonary oedema.

Diabetic cardiomyopathy is also known as Diabetic induced cardiomyopathy or cardiomyopathy due to diabetes. Diabetes can make the pre existing heart diseases worse.


Risk Factors

Other than been diabetic the other contributing risk factors are:

  • Elevated levels of blood cholesterol.
  • Increased blood pressure for longer durations.
  • Family history of cardiomyopathy.
  • Poor glycemic control.
  • Obesity.
  • Habit of alcohol, smoking or drugs.
  • Inactive lifestyle.



The main cause of diabetic cardiomyopathy is diabetes. Some of the other causes which can exacerbate it are:

  • Prolonged elevated blood sugar levels.
  • Increased blood pressure.
  • Elevated levels of blood cholesterol.
  • Excess weight.
  • Smoking & alcohol.



A diabetic person with diabetic cardiomyopathy could remain symptomless for prolonged duration. The following symptoms may appear:

  • Shortness of breath.
  • Fatigue.
  • Swelling of hands, ankles, legs and feet.
  • Dizziness.
  • Irregular heartbeats.
  • Pain in chest.
  • Extra and unusual sounds during heartbeat (known as heart murmurs).



Cardiomyopathy can result in heart failure and death which can be prevented by early diagnosis and adaptation of a proper treatment plan. It can be diagnosed on the basis of:

  • Physical examination.
  • Family history.
  • Blood tests.
  • Urine analysis.
  • Chest x-ray.
  • Stress test.
  • Genetic testing.
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG).
  • Echocardiography.
  • Cardiac catheterization (to assess blood flow and pressure in the chambers of the heart and to determine blockage).
  • Coronary angiography (to assess the blood flow through the blood vessels & heart).
  • Myocardial Biopsy.
  • Nuclear heart scanning.
  • Positron emission tomography.



Diabetic Cardiomyopathy can be treated by:

  • Controlling blood sugar levels.
  • Performing regular physical activities.
  • Consuming nutritious diet.
  • Managing stress.
  • Limiting intake of alcohol.
  • Stopping smoking & drugs.
  • Regular consumption of medications for high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.
  • Surgery may be required in few cases – to enhance the function of heart, implant devices may be required else heart transplantation may be required.



Diabetic Cardiomyopathy can be prevented by:

  • Controlling blood sugar levels.
  • Maintaining body weight.
  • Performing exercises.
  • Tackling elevated blood pressure and increased blood cholesterol levels.
  • Restricting consumption of alcohol.
  • Stopping use of drugs and smoking.
  • Having regular check-ups.


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