Journal

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM): Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

October 30, 2022

Heart Conditions 101: Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a type of cardiomyopathy, and specifically a heart disease that can cause the heart muscle to thicken. This can make it difficult for the heart to pump blood properly. In some cases, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can lead to heart failure or become fatal. However, there are treatments and preventative measures that can be taken today to help manage symptoms and minimize complications. 

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Causes of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy 

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is thought to be caused by various factors, including genetics and environmental conditions. In many cases, HCM develops due to a gene mutation that runs in the family. This gene would cause abnormalities in the structure or function of specific proteins involved in heart health, leading to the development of familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy over time. 

Additionally, some studies have found that exposure to particular stresses or toxins may be linked to an increased risk of this condition. Overall, there are likely many contributing factors that can increase someone's risk of developing HCM.  

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Signs and Symptoms of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Common signs and symptoms of HCM include shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting spells, chest pain, palpitations, and angina. In addition, some people with HCM may experience anxiety or difficulty sleeping at night due to the condition's effects on their heart rate. 

Risk Factors for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Although the cause of HCM is not well understood, investigating potential risk factors or contributing factors may help us to know how this condition develops. Some possible risk factors associated with HCM include inherited genetic mutations, high blood pressure or cholesterol levels, a history of physical or emotional trauma, or exposure to certain chemicals or toxins. 

Ultimately, further research is needed to fully understand the complexity of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and better support those affected by this condition. 

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Treatment Options for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Fortunately, there are several treatment options for HCM, such as drug therapy and surgery. For example, particular drugs may help control symptoms and lower blood pressure in patients with HCM. Additionally, surgical interventions like myectomy or alcohol septal ablation may be recommended for more severe cases, depending on the patient's overall health and other factors. 

Overall, individuals with HCM can feel reassured that there are effective ways to manage their condition and reduce their risk of complications. 

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Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Prevention  

Where there is currently no known cure for HCM, there are measures that can be taken to help prevent its onset or ongoing progression. These include adopting a healthy lifestyle including: 

Additionally, seeking medical care at the first signs of symptoms can help to ensure that any complications from HCM are identified and treated as soon as possible which can reduce further issues. With proper prevention strategies in place, those affected by HCM can take steps to reduce their risk of severe health problems and live long healthy lives. 

Using Cardiogram for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy 
The Cardiogram app is also beneficial when it comes to keeping track of your condition and preventing it from getting worse. Here are a way you can use Cardiogram for staying on top of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: 

Tagging Symptoms

Tagging symptoms on your heart rate graph can help narrow in on the potential cause. (Remember, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can present with shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting spells, chest pain, palpitations, and angina.) Being specific in your journal regarding what you were doing at that time & how you were feeling can further help pinpoint potential causes for your symptoms. 

Tracking Symptoms

Whenever you experience recurring symptoms, be sure to hit the “add symptoms” button on your Cardiogram app. This will help you to keep track of your symptoms, and allow your doctor to gauge the frequency and severity of your condition for a more accurate diagnosis. Remember, you can always add your own custom symptoms if you experience symptoms not listed.   

Journaling

By taking notes when symptoms arise, you and your doctor will be at an advantage, able to connect otherwise seemingly unrelated circumstances. Because of this, in addition to the tagging in your heart rate graph, noting what you were doing and how you were feeling at the time of the symptom in your journal is very helpful. 

Enroll in a habit

Because engaging in regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, and managing stress levels all help improve the symptoms and progression of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, enrolling in a habit is a sure way to commit to a more heart-healthy lifestyle. You can choose from daily exercise routines, stress relieving habits, and good sleep hygiene techniques. When you’re enrolled in a habit, we will also show you its clinical benefits, along with studies to back them up. Just be sure you've spoken with a doctor before engaging in vigorous activity if you regularly experience discomfort when exercising.   

Join our facebook community

If you have questions or concerns, it's important that you first seek help and advice from your doctor. However, our Cardiogram Communityon Facebook is another great resource, filled with other members who share similar experiences and enjoy helping others in the community. Our FB community moderator also has a healthcare background, and is ready to use their clinical knowledge to answer questions you may have regarding your data. 

Share data with your doctor

With Cardiogram Premium, you can download PDFs of your data to bring to your next doctor's visit. Keeping track of symptoms and the effects they have on your heart can help support the process of receiving an accurate diagnosis. This is why it’s important to make sure you’re tagging, journaling, and keeping track of your symptoms on your Cardiogram app.

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BE  YOUR OWN BEST HEALTH ADVOCATE


DOWNLOAD CARDIOGRAM
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ARTICLE RESOURCES

1. Geske, J. B., Ommen, S. R., & Gersh, B. J. (2018). Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. JACC: Heart Failure, 6(5), 364–375. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jchf.2018.02.010 
2. Antunes, M. de O., & Scudeler, T. L. (2020). Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. IJC Heart & Vasculature, 27, 100503. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcha.2020.100503 

Heart Conditions 101: Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
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