Self-management

Lifestyle and home remedies

If you have dilated cardiomyopathy, these self-care strategies may help you manage your symptoms:

  • Exercise. Talk to your doctor about what activities would be safe and beneficial for you. In general, competitive sports aren't recommended because they can increase the risk of the heart stopping and causing sudden death.
  • Quit smoking. Your doctor can give you advice on what methods can help you stop.
  • Don't use illegal drugs or drink alcohol excessively. Using cocaine or other illegal drugs can strain your heart. Before you drink alcohol, ask your doctor for advice.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Extra weight makes your heart work harder. Lose weight if you're overweight or obese.
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet. Eating whole grains and a variety of fruits and vegetables, and limiting salt, added sugar, and cholesterol, saturated fats and trans fats is good for your heart. Ask your doctor for a referral to a dietitian if you need help planning your diet.

Prevention

Healthy lifestyle habits can help you prevent or minimize the effects of dilated cardiomyopathy. If you have dilated cardiomyopathy:

  • Don't smoke.
  • Don't drink alcohol, or drink in moderation.
  • Don't use cocaine or other illegal drugs.
  • Eat a healthy diet, especially a low-salt (sodium) diet.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Follow an exercise regimen recommended by your doctor.
  • Get enough sleep and rest.
July 26, 2017
References
  1. Tintinalli JE, et al. Cardiomyopathies and pericardial disease. In: Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2016. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com. Accessed May 22, 2017.
  2. Fuster V, et al, eds. Dilated cardiomyopathy. In: Hurst's The Heart. 14th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2017. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com. Accessed May 22, 2017.
  3. Cardiomyopathy. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/book/export/html/4916. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  4. Dilated cardiomyopathy. American Stroke Association. http://www.strokeassociation.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@hcm/documents/downloadable/ucm_312224.pdf. Accessed May 24, 2017.

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