Every pregnancy is characterized by a variety of physiological and biochemical events.
Postpartum cardiomyopathy (or cardiopathy) symptoms are one of them. This complex situation changes frequently, especially after the delivery.
Hormonal changes can affect the new mother’s health – both mentally and physically. They can primarily influence emotional status and behavior because they need to prepare you as a mother.
Some other factors may influence physical conditions that can be more or less pathological. During the pregnancy, your body mass increases significantly.
Your body contains more fat, more water, and one or more babies. Water retention causes having 5-8l of fluid more in your body. This results in increased blood volume +30-40%.
This can affect your heart muscle. It can be too weak and unable to pump enough blood into circulation.
This rare condition is found in 1 out of 2500 postpartum women.
What are the postpartum cardiomyopathy symptoms?
The increased volume of blood imposes on the heart the request to pump the additional blood into the circulation. This presents a difficult task for your heart.
It may influence changes in the heart muscle. This is cardiopathy in a nut-shell. As a consequence, your heart will become weaker.
It won’t be able to pump as much blood as before. Even after the delivery (when everything starts going back to normal). Postpartum cardiomyopathy symptoms usually develops few months after the delivery.
As your heart is crucial for functioning of your entire organism. All organs will be affected and therefore a variety of symptoms can develop.
Your doctor is the only competent person to evaluate your condition.
Cardiomyopathy can be mild, moderate and severe, and somewhat different symptoms accompany each of these types.
Mild postpartum cardiomyopathy symptoms:
• Loss of appetite
• Mild fatigue, especially during exercise or other physical activities
• Frequent urination, especially at night
Moderate postpartum cardiomyopathy symptoms:
• Moderate fatigue, again related to physical activity
• Cough during night
• Breathing problems – shortness of breath while lying, exercising, and especially at night
• Leg swelling (bilateral) – ankles and feet are affected
• Weight gain – this has nothing to do with food and fat, but is caused by water retention
Severe postpartum cardiomyopathy symptoms:
• Palpitations: heart beats that are ubnormal
• Rapid pulse
• Serious and severe breathing problems – shortness of breath at resting state, when lying, with exertion
• Leg swelling (bilateral) – severe, affects ankles and feet
• Severe fatigue
• Chest congestion
• Rapid breathing – over 20 breaths per minute
What is not a curable condition of cardiopathy?
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is not a curable disease. The treatment mainly focuses of relieve of symptoms and the encouraging heart relaxation. This helps in preventing sudden death dilemma by monitoring heart rhythms accordingly.
What causes postpartum cardiomyopathy in new mothers?
The exact cause of this condition is unknown. However, there are some factors that are related to it.
Pregnancy affects the heart in all women. Yet, just a small number of them develop cardiomyopathy health condition.
Women with previous heart conditions are more prone of developing cardiomyopathy heart condition. It can also affect completely healthy women but the likeliness is very low.
Some of the risk factors for postpartum cardiomyopathy are:
• African-American race
• Alcoholism, smoking
• Previous heart conditions or family history of heart disease
• Multiple pregnancies
• High blood pressure
• Irregular heartbeats
• Thyroid disorders
I have some of the mentioned postpartum cardiomyopathy symptoms. What do I do now?
Cardiomiopathy is a serious and dangerous condition, so if you experience any of these symptoms (not necessarily all of them) visit your doctor immediately.
Based on your symptoms and tests you will be diagnosed and prescribed a therapy. Medication will almost certainly necessary.
If treated on time, cardiomyopathy is not detrimental for your body and your lifestyle.
If it isn’t under control, the person needs immediate supervision by a cardiomypathy specialist.
There is no miracle formula to avoid postpartum cardiomyopathy.
Some of the following advices can lower the possibility of its development and progress:
• Avoid alcohol and smoking: Avoid being exposed to secondary smoke
• Daily exercise helps: If you already have cardiomyopathy, make sure to consult your doctor about proper workout
• Control your blood sugar and blood pressure: If you have pre-existing sugar and blood pressure health issues, you may have to consult your physician about the possibilities.
• Avoid salt intake: Low salt diet means that you take less than 1500 mg of salt per day. In order to achieve this, stop adding salt to your food, stop eating fast food, and read the food labels. Some food can contain lots of salt, although it doesn’t taste like it.
Postpartum cardiomyopathy symptoms sounds scary, and it can be a serious condition. Get diagnosed and seek treatment by visiting your physician or a cardiomyopathy specialist. Prescribed medications and having a healthy lifestyle will ultimately make you get rid of it.