Heart Disease

How common is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy?

A Answers (2)

  • It's estimated that hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is present in one person out of every 500. However, in many of those people, the condition goes undiagnosed and doesn't cause many symptoms. Stories of HCM can create fear and confusion about the condition because of its connection to the unexpected, sudden deaths of seemingly healthy, young people. It is, in fact, the number one cause of sudden cardiac death in people under the age of 30. However, only a very small proportion of people with HCM are at risk for sudden cardiac death, and these deaths are quite rare.

  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a disease in which the muscle of the lower left chamber of the heart (the left ventricle) becomes abnormally thick and enlarged. HCM, which is most often inherited, is a significant cause of both heart failure and sudden death. It is the most common cause of sudden cardiac death among athletes who were believed to be healthy.
    According to the American Heart Association, HCM occurs in one in 500 people, making it the most common inherited heart defect. The most severe cases become evident in teenagers and young adults, but the disease may be first identified at any age (even in older adults). Older individuals appear more likely to present with, and suffer from, heart failure symptoms than to have sudden cardiac death. 
This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.
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What is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy?