Busy people in New York might be aware of the risks of different types of cardiovascular disease; risks can be increased in people with hectic lifestyles, smokers or people who don’t follow a healthy diet. Cardiomyopathy, disease of the heart muscle, is a lesser-known heart condition that can be dangerous, especially because people who have it sometimes don’t notice any symptoms.
Cardiomyopathy can lead to heart failure if it is not diagnosed and treated. Symptoms of cardiomyopathy typically include difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, especially when physically active; fatigue; and swelling of the veins, neck, abdomen or ankles.
A doctor might be able to detect possible cardiomyopathy during a physical examination. There are several diagnostic tests for cardiomyopathy. Doctors may order blood tests, X-rays, an echocardiogram, an EKG or stress tests when they suspect that a patient might have the disease. If any of these tests turn out positive, another procedure might be performed to confirm the diagnosis. This may include cardiac catherization or myocardial biopsy.
Cardiomyopathy tends to run in families. The disease can happen to anyone at any age, but people with a family history of heart disease, African-Americans and men are at higher risk.
Failure to diagnose cardiomyopathy could lead to heart failure. Sometimes, doctors make mistake or neglect to take all the correct steps to diagnose a disease. Every case of misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose is not necessarily medical malpractice, however. Medical malpractice may be difficult to prove and generally requires evidence that a doctor or other member of medical staff failed to perform their duty in a way that a peer would have under similar circumstances. An attorney may be able to look for evidence of malpractice after a patient receives a misdiagnosis.