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If you are diabetic, you are at increased risk for cardiomyopathy, or the thickening of the muscles in the heart which impacts the heart’s ability to pump blood.  It is detectable and treatable, but cardiovascular disease is still a big concern for those with diabetes, accounting for about two out of three diabetic deaths.

Signs to Watch For

  1. Finding it hard to catch your breath, even when you are resting
  2. Swollen ankles and legs
  3. Fatigue
  4. Dizziness
  5. Chest pain
  6. Irregular heartbeat, or a “fluttering” feeling in your chest

Screening and Treatment

To screen for cardiomyopathy, your doctor may order some tests, like a chest X-ray, treadmill stress test or an echocardiogram (ultrasound of your heart). If you have the condition, treatment will depend on the type of cardiomyopathy you have. It’s important to follow your doctor’s advice which may include things like medication, quitting smoking and increased physical activity.


If you keep your A1C levels regularly below 7, you can dramatically reduce your chances of heart-related complications. Also, practice healthy lifestyle behaviors such as eating healthy, staying physically active and taking all medications prescribed by your doctor as directed.

In many cases, you can’t prevent cardiomyopathy. Let your doctor know if you have a family history of the condition.

Weekly Health Tips are brought to you by UCF Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice. Offering primary and specialty care under one roof, UCF Health treats patients age 16 and up in primary care and age 18 and up for specialty care. Most major insurance plans are accepted. Two locations are now open: the original in East Orlando at Quadrangle and University boulevards just blocks from the main UCF campus, and the newest one in Medical City at Narcoossee Road and Tavistock Lakes Boulevard. Information for both facilities can be found at, or call (407) 266-DOCS to schedule an appointment.

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