Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a condition characterized by the thickening of the heart muscle, particularly the left ventricle. Symptoms can vary widely among individuals, and some may not experience any noticeable symptoms. Common symptoms of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy may include:
- Shortness of Breath: Individuals with HCM may experience difficulty breathing, especially during physical activity or exertion.
- Chest Pain or Discomfort: Chest pain or discomfort, often resembling angina, may occur due to the increased workload on the heart.
- Fatigue: Feeling unusually tired or fatigued, even with normal activities, can be a symptom of HCM.
- Palpitations: Irregular heartbeats, rapid heartbeats, or a sensation of fluttering in the chest may occur.
- Syncope (Fainting): Some individuals with HCM may experience fainting or near-fainting episodes, often related to abnormal heart rhythms.
- Heart Murmurs: Abnormal heart sounds, known as heart murmurs, may be detected during a physical examination.
- Swelling (Edema): Fluid retention and swelling, particularly in the ankles or feet, may occur in advanced cases.
- Lightheadedness or Dizziness: Individuals may feel lightheaded or dizzy, especially upon standing or after physical activity.
It’s important to note that symptoms can vary, and some individuals may have HCM without noticeable signs. In some cases, sudden cardiac death can be the first manifestation, particularly in young athletes.
If you suspect you have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or experience symptoms related to heart function, it’s crucial to seek medical attention promptly. Diagnosis typically involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, imaging studies (such as echocardiography), and, in some cases, genetic testing. Management may include medications to control symptoms, lifestyle modifications, and in certain situations, surgical interventions. Regular follow-up with healthcare professionals is essential for monitoring the condition and adjusting treatment as needed.