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  • Writer's pictureCasey Lunt

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a condition characterized by abnormal thickening (hypertrophy) of the heart muscle, specifically the myocardium. This thickening makes it harder for the heart to pump blood effectively. While many individuals with HCM may not experience any symptoms, the condition can pose several dangers, including:

  • Arrhythmias: HCM can disrupt the heart's electrical system, leading to irregular heart rhythms or arrhythmias. These can include atrial fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia, or even sudden cardiac arrest. Arrhythmias can be life-threatening, especially if they cause the heart to beat too fast or too irregularly.

  • Heart failure: The thickened heart muscle can make it difficult for the heart to pump blood efficiently, leading to heart failure. Heart failure occurs when the heart cannot supply enough blood to meet the body's demands. This can result in symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, and fluid retention.

  • Blood flow obstruction: In some cases, the thickened heart muscle can obstruct the flow of blood out of the heart, particularly during exercise. This can lead to symptoms such as chest pain, lightheadedness, or fainting (syncope) during physical activity.

  • Increased risk of blood clots: HCM can increase the risk of blood clots forming within the heart chambers. These blood clots can dislodge and travel to other parts of the body, leading to serious complications such as stroke or pulmonary embolism.

  • Sudden cardiac death: While relatively rare, individuals with HCM have an increased risk of sudden cardiac death, particularly young athletes. This risk is often associated with ventricular arrhythmias or other cardiac complications.

  • Progression of symptoms: HCM is a progressive condition, meaning that symptoms may worsen over time. Without proper management and treatment, individuals with HCM may experience increasing limitations on their physical activity and quality of life.

Individuals with HCM need to receive regular medical care and follow their healthcare provider's recommendations for monitoring and managing the condition. Treatment options may include medications to control symptoms, lifestyle modifications, and in some cases, surgical procedures to relieve obstruction or correct other heart abnormalities. Early detection by contacting Lifesavers Preventative Health Screenings is the key to reducing the risks associated with HCM. Contact us today to set up a health screening. We believe your life and those of your family are worth it. 

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