Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a condition in which part of the heart muscle is thickened. Because of this thickening, the heart has a difficult time pumping blood to the rest of the body. This makes the heart work harder to pump blood.
The condition also may be accompanied by electrical problems of the heart. Sometimes hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can lead to dilated cardiomyopathy.
The condition is usually inherited. If one member of the family has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, it is likely other family members will also have it and they should be tested for it. Scientists think its cause is related to defects in the genes that control the growth of the heart muscle.
While the condition occurs in all types of people, it is more severe in the young. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy often is the cause of a young athlete suddenly collapsing and dying during an exhausting game. In these people, the first symptom may be death during intense exertion. Extremely abnormal heart rhythm or the prevention of blood going from the heart to the rest of the body may be the cause. This sudden death, however, may also be due to normal changes in an athlete’s heart.
Signs and Symptoms of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
Some patients have no symptoms and the condition is diagnosed during a regular medical exam.
Symptoms of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy may include:
- Chest pain
- Fainting, especially during exercise
- Feeling the heart beat (palpitations)
- Heart failure in some people
- High blood pressure
- Light-headedness, particularly during or after some strenuous activity
- Reduced tolerance to exercise
- Shortness of breath
- Shortness of breath when lying down
The doctor may examine the patient, listening through a stethoscope to the sounds of the heart and lungs. Pulses in the arms and neck also are tested.
The following tests may be done to determine the thickness of the heart muscle, blood flow abnormalities, or leaky heart valves:
- 24-hour Holter monitor (a heart monitor that you wear that checks you heart rate over a 24-hour period)
- Cardiac catheterization
- Chest X-ray
- MRI of the heart
- Transesophageal echocardiogram
The doctor will probably recommend blood tests to rule out other diseases.
If you are diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, your doctor may recommend others in your family also be tested since the condition is usually genetically acquired.
Crestor® and Cardiomyopathy
Some researchers believe that the statin medication Crestor® can increase a patient’s risk for cardiomyopathy. If you are diagnosed with this heart problem and are taking or have taken the medication, you should seek help. You might qualify for monetary compensation for your damages. To learn more, schedule a free consultation with a Crestor® injury lawyer today.