- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy means that a segment of the heart muscle wall has become abnormally thickened. People usually develop the condition in their teens to their early 20s.
- In most cases, the left ventricular muscle becomes abnormally large, although the septum, or wall between the atria and the ventricles, can also become enlarged and obstruct blood flow out of the heart, a condition called hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy.
- When the muscular walls of the ventricles become thickened, the ventricles are unable to relax sufficiently to fill with blood and the heart becomes unable to pump blood efficiently.
Sometimes, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can cause an arrhythmia, a disturbance in the heart’s rate or rhythm. In addition, people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are susceptible to endocarditis, an infection of the lining of the heart. A physician may recommend that these people take antibiotics before dental procedures and surgery to avoid endocarditis.
Physicians also recommend that people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy avoid:
- Over-the-counter cold medication,
- Stimulant narcotics (such as cocaine and methamphetamines),
- Hot tubs and saunas, and
- Strenuous exercise.
In hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the walls of heart become too thick, impairing blood flow.