Obstructive Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Obstructive Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Obstructive Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a form of cardiomyopathy, affecting the heart muscle. This is a serious heart condition which can be life-threatening. HCM leads to the thickening of the walls of the left ventricle, and causes a blockage of blood flow in the heart. The symptoms of HCM will vary depending on the extent of the blockage and how advanced it is.

Basically, HCM is a genetic disorder, meaning it is inherited. However, environmental factors can influence the risk of developing the condition. Some of the environmental factors that may increase the risk of developing HCM include exposure to chemical toxins, alcohol abuse, smoking, severe infection, and the presence of metabolic syndrome.

The most common symptom of HCM is chest pain, especially during physical activity. Other symptoms of HCM include shortness of breath, palpitations, faintness, swollen legs and feet, fatigue, and irregular heartbeats. In some cases, a person with HCM may experience an episode of sudden cardiac arrest.

Diagnosing HCM can be difficult, as the condition can mimic the symptoms of other heart conditions. It is important that individuals with any of the symptoms of HCM see a doctor right away for an accurate diagnosis. Diagnostic tests that may be used to diagnose HCM include an ECG, echocardiogram, cardiac MRI, and cardiac CT scan.

Treatment for HCM involves lifestyle changes, medicines, and procedures that can improve the flow of blood through the heart. Lifestyle changes that may help improve symptoms include eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, quitting smoking, and reducing stress. Medications may include beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, diuretics, and Ace inhibitors.

In cases where lifestyle changes and medications do not improve the symptoms of HCM, doctors may recommend a procedure such as a septal ablation, where a small portion of the septum (the dividing wall between the left and right ventricles of the heart) is removed. This can help reduce the blockage and improve blood flow.

Although the prognosis for Obstructive Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is variable, it is important to follow your doctor’s treatment plan to ensure the best possible outcome. In some cases, HCM can be life-threatening, so it is important to take the condition seriously and follow your doctor’s instructions.

Living with Obstructive Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Living with HCM can be a challenge, but it is important to remember that it is not necessarily a death sentence. With the right treatment plan, and lifestyle modifications, many people are able to lead relatively normal and healthy lives.

A few lifestyle changes that can help those living with HCM include:

  • Not smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke.
  • Getting regular check-ups and following your doctor’s instructions for medications and lifestyle changes.
  • Eating a healthy diet low in saturated fat and sodium.
  • Limiting alcohol consumption.
  • Staying active and exercising regularly; however, it is important to avoid strenuous activities that can put extra strain on the heart.
  • Managing stress.
  • Practicing healthy sleeping habits.

If you have been diagnosed with HCM, it is important to talk to your doctor about any concerns or questions you may have. With proper care and lifestyle changes, those living with HCM can lead relatively normal lives.