Cardiomyopathy refers to group of conditions affecting the heart muscle, which cause the heart to become enlarged, thick and/or rigid. There are many different causes for cardiomyopathy including certain infections, exposure to toxic chemicals, and autoimmune conditions, where the body’s defense system actually attacks itself. As cardiomyopathy worsens, the heart muscle becomes weaker and is less able to pump blood through the body and maintain its rhythm. This can lead to heart failure, a condition where the heart tires out. Some may experience no symptoms and need no treatment, while, for others, cardiomyopathy may develop quickly with severe symptoms and serious complications. Typical symptoms of cardiomyopathy include breathlessness, swelling of the legs, bloating, cough, fatigue, dizziness and irregular heartbeats. A physician can diagnose cardiomyopathy using imaging tests, stress tests, blood tests or biopsy, where a needle is used to take out heart tissue to look at under a microscope. Treatment varies by type of cardiomyopathy, but commonly medications are used to manage symptoms. If the heart is badly damaged, certain more invasive procedures and surgeries may be needed to repair or replace the heart.