If you have dilated cardiomyopathy, you're likely to have signs and symptoms when the disease has caused heart failure or arrhythmias. Dilated cardiomyopathy symptoms include:

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea) when you're active or lying down
  • Reduced ability to exercise
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness or fainting
  • Persistent cough or wheezing, especially when lying down
  • Swelling (edema) in your legs, ankles and feet
  • Swelling of your abdomen (ascites)
  • Sudden weight gain from fluid retention
  • Lack of appetite
  • Sensation of rapid, fluttering or pounding heartbeats (palpitations)
  • Pale skin

When to see a doctor

If you experience shortness of breath or other symptoms of dilated cardiomyopathy, see your doctor. Call 911 or your local emergency number if you feel chest pain that lasts more than a few minutes or have severe difficulty breathing.

If a member of your family has been diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, talk to your doctor about having you or other family members screened for dilated cardiomyopathy. Early detection may benefit people with inherited forms of dilated cardiomyopathy who have no apparent signs or symptoms.

Sep. 16, 2011