What is cardiomyopathy?

Updated: Feb 8

Cardiomyopathy is a disease that prevents the cardiac muscle from functioning properly. This muscle functions to pump blood throughout the body. This is a hereditary disease, where the heart exhibits adaptive responses.

The Biology of Cardiomyopathy

The heart has cardiomyocytes, which are cells that play a role in the contraction of the heart. Gap junctions or the "intercalated discs" and the extracellular matrix (EM) aid to the cardiomyocytes. The cardiomyocte contains sarcomeres, which are the basic foundation or "backbones" of this cell. They consist of 20 complex proteins; because of the complexity of the protein, there is an increased chance of a dysfunction or cardiomyopathy. Although the heart has defensive responses, these responses eventually fail. There are many factors that cause cardiomyopathy, like genetic mutations. The mutation can possibly affect the cardiac phenotype, or the physical appearance of the gene.

Candice Monroe's Cardiomyopathy

As stated earlier, cardiomyopathy is a hereditary disease that can be developed through genetic mutations in the heart. She has had a family history of this as her sister developed it before her. Therefore, she had a high chance of developing it.

This photo shows the significant difference of a normal functioning heart versus a heart with cardiomyopathy. In this case, it shows a heart experiencing hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, where the cardiac muscle becomes abnormally thick.

This is a microscopic picture of a cardiac muscle. I am currently taking a science course called "Honors Anatomy and Physiology", which studies how the human body looks and functions on a daily basis. In class, we discuss the different parts and functions of body tissues. One of these tissues was the cardiac tissue, a muscle that exhibits involuntary movement. It pumps blood throughout the body. The small shaped circles are the "intercalated discs". The cardiac muscle also has striations and is uninucleate (has one nucleus)

Cardiomyopathy. Johns Hopkins Medicine. (n.d.). Retrieved January 16, 2022, from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/cardiomyopathy

Harvey, P. A., & Leinwand, L. A. (2011, August 8). The Cell Biology of disease: Cellular mechanisms of cardiomyopathy. The Journal of cell biology. Retrieved January 16, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3153638/

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2021, April 9). Cardiomyopathy. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved January 16, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cardiomyopathy/symptoms-causes/syc-20370709

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