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What is It?
Aortic insufficiency caused by cardiomyopathy is a condition in which the aorta of the heart is not receiving sufficient blood supply due to an obstructed or otherwise damaged valve. The heart must work harder to provide oxygen rich blood to the body and thus, complications can arise. In most cases, the lower left chamber becomes wider and the condition can deteriorate over time. This occurs as a direct result of the cardiovascular changes caused by the cardiomyopathy.
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What Role Does Cardiomyopathy Play?
The heart undergoes several different changes with cardiomyopathy. While these may depend on the type the patient has been diagnosed with, the most common is the thickening or toughening of the muscles of the heart and shrinking of the aorta, as is seen with dilated and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This effects the contraction and opening and closing of the valves, which can lead to aortic insufficiency. However, the patient should keep in mind that this can also occur with the other types of cardiomyopathy.
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Aortic insufficiency and cardiomyopathy treatment are often quite similar in nature and are often combined to treat these two conditions when they occur together. These may include medications, lifestyle changes and in some cases, surgical interventions. Blood pressure medication is commonly prescribed to reduce the workload of the heart, sometimes even if the patient doesn’t suffer from clinical hypertension. Lifestyle changes involve a heart healthy diet, regular exercising and monitoring and managing any other health conditions that the person may have. Surgical treatment options may include but are not limited to placing of an artificial valve, repairing or restructuring of the affected aorta.
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Can It Be Prevented?
The word prevention is used quite lightly when it comes to aortic insufficiency and cardiomyopathy. While having this heart condition raises the likelihood that one may develop an insufficiency, statistics indicate that prevention measures are best aimed at treatment and management of the underlying condition. This can include any measure that stops or slows the progression of cardiomyopathy and knowing your risk factors. In milder cases of cardiomyopathy, treatment may not even be indicated but rather, the condition closely monitored.
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Risk factors for developing aortic insufficiency caused by cardiomyopathy include having the condition. However, this does not necessarily mean that the insufficiency will ensue. Those at higher risks are patients who have severe cardiomyopathy, those who fail to manage it effectively and individuals who suffer from other diseases and conditions, especially those conditions related to the heart.
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Aortic Insufficiency . Medline Plus. 7, May 2010. Viewed 14, December 2010. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000179.htm
Aortic Valve Regurgitation. Mayo Clinic. 24, September 2009. Viewed 14, December 2010. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/aortic-valve-regurgitation/DS00419/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs
What is Cardiomyopathy? Cleveland Clinic. 30, December 2008. Viewed 14, December 2010. http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders/Cardiomyopathy/hic_What_is_Cardiomyopathy.aspx