Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is an abnormal thickening of the heart muscle (myocardium) walls that reduces the ability of the heart to pump blood. This thickening disables the heart to fill in properly with blood, but there can also be a partial obstruction in pumping blood; both, decrease the heart pumping function. The disease is usually inherited, but the exact cause is not known. As a consequence, there may be sudden death even in healthy, active people. The symptoms do not always show until middle age.
The symptoms of this disease show during adolescence, especially during physical exercises. These are:
- lack of air
- chest pain
- dizziness and fatigue
- heart murmur
As hypertrophic cardiomyopathy progresses, feeling of suffocation may appear during resting. In certain cases, life-threatening arrhythmia may occur. Heart valve disorder may appear between the left atrium and left ventricle, which leads to getting blood back, which causes additional heart effort.
In severe cases, thickened heart walls may prevent pumping blood from the heart, supplying blood to the rest of the organs. This situation is potentially fatal.
The risk factor is family history. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is inherited in most of the cases. In case you have a sibling parent or close relative with this condition, you should ask for a screening.
The complications of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can be:
- obstruction in the blood flow
- enlarged ventricle
- valve problems
- heart failure
- sudden cardiac death
Prevention is almost impossible because hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is inherited. However, if diagnosed with this condition, preventive measures can be taken in order to prevent sudden cardiac death: implant a defibrillator, not take part in competitive sports, medications and doctor’s advice.