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You have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition that affects the way the heart muscle works. The heart muscle grows thicker and stiffer than normal, especially in the walls of the left ventricle and septum. This makes it hard for the heart to pump blood properly. As a result, it can be difficult to do activities that were once easy for you. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a genetic disorder, although it often doesn't show up until later in life. In some people, the condition carries a risk for sudden cardiac death. If you have any passing out spells, tell your doctor about them immediately. The condition can be managed, but there is no cure. Talk to your doctor about treatment.
A person with this condition often experiences no symptoms. But if symptoms do occur, they are most likely when you exert yourself. Symptoms may include:
Problems catching your breath
Lightheadedness, dizzy spells, or fainting
Rapid, pounding heartbeat
Chest tightness or pressure
Fluid retention resulting in swollen feet or ankles or unexplained weight gain
As the walls of the heart muscle thicken, it becomes more difficult for the heart to hold as much blood as possible. Thick walls may also block blood flow and damage valves. A stiff heart muscle can’t relax between pumps the way it should, so less blood moves with each pump. Also, the heart may sometimes beat irregularly (too fast and out of rhythm).
Treatment can help keep cardiomyopathy from getting worse, and can reduce your symptoms. Your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan to help you feel better now and prevent problems in the future.
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