What exactly is Viral Cardiomyopathy?

The recent news on Randy Travis's viral cardiomyopathy condition has awaken curiosity among the public in regards to what exactly the disease is and how it can develop.  Last Monday night the popular country icon was hospitalized in a Texas health care facility in critical condition and since then many have asked the question: What exactly is Viral Cardiomyopathy?

Viral Cardiomyopathy is a disease that according to the Mayo Clinic enlarges and makes the heart weak.  This makes it much harder for the organ to pump blood and make it go to the remaining parts of the body.  In critical cases, this condition can cause heart failure. Common cardiomyopathy normally happens gradually with only a few symptoms however with viral cardiomyopathy this fact differs.

"Viral cardiomyopathy can be caused by 30-plus different viruses, but it's almost impossible to pinpoint which virus it is," cardiologist Dr. Ramin Oskoui says. "Hospitals use viral cardiomyopathy as a 'catch all' diagnosis."

Cardiomyopathy is somewhat unlikely and uncommon however viral infections in the heart are not and these infections, although rarely, can lead to viral cardiomyopathy development.  In 2003 German medical researchers studied the behavior of these conditions and got to the conclusion that a "Viral infection of the heart is relatively common, usually asymptomatic and has a spontaneous and complete resolution". If the conditions persists then viral cardiomyopathy might appear.

Teresa Traywick, Randy Travis' sister in law, told reporters that in his family, there is history of heart problems as their mother passed away due to heart failure and his brother suffered a heart attack last year.  Even though the condition might be inherited though, there are many other reasons why someone can develop viral cardiomyopathy.  Nutritional deficits, diabetes, blood pressure spikes, extended alcohol abuse, some abuse of specific medication, heart valve problems and others can all lead to someone suffering from the disease.

To avoid this or any other heart related complication, doctors recommend for people to stay healthy.  Having a healthy diet, exercising regularly, quitting smoking or never even staring, limiting alcohol, and loosing unhealthy weight are important habits that everyone should live by.

Doctors will determine how critical the patient is and then take the decision to treat the problem either with medication, through an implant of devices that will assist the heart function better or both.

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