Everything You Need to Know About Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (also known as HCM) is a condition that affects the heart. It causes the heart muscle to thicken, making blood pumping much harder. This struggle can lead to serval side effects and sometimes severe complications. It’s said to be the most common inherited heart condition and affects over 1,200 people in the UK.

Although this condition is somewhat common, HCM is often undiagnosed. This is what makes it so important to understand this condition so you can spot early signs you might have HCM.

The risks

Genetic mutations typically cause this condition, which affects muscle growth around the heart. It’s usually inherited from a parent, but it can occur spontaneously without any previous family history.

High blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity can also increase your risk of developing this condition. Therefore, it’s best to live a healthy lifestyle to lower your chances of it progressing.

The symptoms

Symptoms of HCM can vary, and it often depends on the individual. Some people may experience no symptoms at all, while others could feel:

  • Chest pain
  • Palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Fainting
  • Dizziness

It’s important to note that these are just some symptoms people can experience. To be completely certain and ease your mind, make sure to talk to a medical professional.

Getting diagnosed

Diagnosing HCM typically involves a combination of methods. It will usually start with a medical history evaluation to determine family history and other preexisting conditions. A physical examination will follow this.

Several diagnostic tests for HCM are also available. Several scans can map out the heart’s structure for better understanding, and genetic tests can identify specific mutations associated with HCM. To access these tests, make an appointment with your doctor.

The treatment

There is currently no cure for HCM. However, there are treatments to ease symptoms and prevent serious problems from developing. Here are a few treatments that might be recommended to you:

  • Lifestyle changes. Regular exercise, healthy eating and quitting unhealthy behaviours such as smoking can greatly benefit your heart
  • Medications. Your doctor might prescribe medications to help control heart rate, rhythm and blood pressure, such as beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, and antiarrhythmic drugs
  • A cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD). This is a device that is used to monitor abnormal heart rhythms
  • Surgery. Surgeries like septal myectomy can remove excess heart muscle for better blood flow

Your doctor will prescribe you a treatment that best suits your symptoms, the severity of your condition, and your personal preference. Remember that you have a say in your treatment, too!

Know your heart

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a serious heart condition that requires continuous monitoring. Understanding it can help you spot symptoms quickly, leading to early detection and treatment.  

Your next step should be contacting your doctor to schedule an appointment. Ensure you have your family history handy, and don’t hesitate to ask for the tests listed above. Your heart is vital to your overall health, so put it first!

By | 2024-04-23T13:04:59+00:00 April 23rd, 2024|Categories: Personal Stories|0 Comments

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