Cardiomyopathy is a rare heart muscle disease over the world, but not in Africa where it is one of the major causes of heart failure, according to experts that reviewed all available cardiomyopathy studies performed in Africa, along with all the information about the causes and types of heart muscle disease in Africa, where 10 per cent of the world's population lives.
A 10 per cent to 17 per cent of cardiac problems found through autopsies in South Africa and Uganda, and 17 per cent to 48 per cent of heart failure diagnoses in many parts of Africa are due to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), which is an enlargement of the entire heart, explain researchers.
In the United States, 4 to 8 per 100,000 people are affected by DCM, but African overall incidence is unknown, because the corresponding studies have not been made yet.
Researchers' findings show that Peripartum cardiomyopathy has a very high incidence throughout Africa and Nigeria. This illness can cause heart failure and it develops between the last month of pregnancy and the first five months after childbirth.
Peripartum cardiomyopathy incidence in the US is 1 in 15,000 deliveries; meanwhile the incidence in South Africa is 1 in 1,000 cases.
DCM is caused by various factors, under generally accepted African theory. These include untreated high blood pressure, infective and toxic agents, inappropriate immunologic reactions, nutritional deficiencies, and genetic factors.
According to experts, it is important to do more research to understand the underlying reasons for Africa's high cardiomyopathy rate, and prevent or reduce it.