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How does hypertrophic cardiomyopathy affect the body?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

The genetic defect responsible for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) affects the heart's ability to do its job. The heart muscle of a person with HCM is so thick and stiff that it can have trouble filling up with and pumping out enough blood for the body. The heart may also have trouble regulating its rhythm as it would normally. These challenges are often exacerbated by exercise or physical exertion and lead a person to feel dizzy, tired or short of breath, amongst other effects. The degree to which a person with HCM feels the effects of the disease varies greatly. While many people with HCM live their whole lives unaware of any particular effects, others may feel anywhere from mild to severe effects of the disease. At its most severe HCM can lead to life-threatening irregular heart rhythms and sudden cardiac death.

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Important: 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.