Cardiomyopathy means any disease of the heart muscle. Depending on the type of cardiomyopathy, it can cause an enlarged heart or a weakened heart that cannot fill properly or pump blood properly. Cardiomyopathy symptoms include fatigue, angina, dizziness, swelling, irregular heartbeat, and shortness of breath. There are several main types of cardiomyopathy that can cause disability if they are not successfully treated with medication.
Dilated cardiomyopathy is a common type of heart muscle disease that causes an enlarged heart. Social Security evaluates dilated cardiomyopathy under its disability listing for chronic heart failure.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, thickening of the heart muscle, makes it harder for the heart to pump blood. In the rare cases where this leads to disability, Social Security would evaluate hypertrophic cardiomyopathy under its disability listing for arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms), and in some cases, chronic heart failure.
Restrictive cardiomyopathy stiffens the heart muscle, which makes the heart unable to fill with enough blood. If this leads to congestive heart failure, Social Security would evaluate it under chronic heart failure.
This type of cardiomyopathy is not really a heart muscle disease, but a problem caused by coronary artery disease (CAD). If a patient with CAD has a heart attack, this can lead to damaged heart muscle. If you were diagnosed with ischemic cardiomyopathy, your condition would usually be evaluated under Social Security's listing for ischemic heart disease.
Alcoholic cardiomyopathy is a type of dilated cardiomyopathy that ultimately can cause congestive heart failure. Social Security would evaluate it under its chronic heart failure listing. However, if Social Security believes that your alcoholic cardiomyopathy could be reversed by quitting drinking, you'll be denied benefits. For more information, see our article on how alcohol abuse affects a disability claim.