(HealthDay News) — Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle that causes the heart to become enlarged, rigid or thicker.

As the condition worsens, the heart becomes weaker and is less effective at pumping blood, the U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute says.

The agency suggests how to help tame some of the condition’s complications:

  • Quit smoking.
  • Lose any excess weight.
  • Avoid alcohol and illegal drugs.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Take medication as your doctor has prescribed it.
  • Get regular medical checkups.
  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet.
  • Exercise regularly.

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