T Nation

Paranoid about Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.


A guy I know died from this recently and for some strange reason I think I have it to. Its a condition of the heart thats the leading cause of death in young athletes under 30 years of age.

I'm an overall healthy guy(I think) but many of the famous athletes which include Boston Celtics Reggie Lewis, were also seemingly healthy when they collapsed to their death without a warning. There are no symptoms and many people who have died never knew they had it.

To make sure I have to take an echo test but i don't have fucking Insurance!! I did take an ekg about 2 months ago when I did have insurance and every thing was normal including the X-Ray(I don't know the significance of this relating to the disease)

Anyone know anything about this??? I'm getting paranoid to even workout. I'm being paranoid but It would help to hear people's take on this. Thank You.




Find a way to see a doctor if it is that much of a concern to you.


So, you're afraid of fucking youe heart... soooo, you're not going to exercise at all?

I dont get it.

I think you're really overanalyzing it.


Why do you feel you are at risk?

In my own limited experience, cardiomyopathy is a secondary result of some primary factor.

You need to be much more specific if you want any input, and it is a condition that you certainly need a qualified opinion and definitive diagnosis upon. Xrays, MRI and such. An internet message board is not the place to perform such self diagnosis.


I think your right. I just had a fast hard session. I'm still here. I guess Im just paranoid because of the friends death.


I've had an X Ray and Ekg about a month ago. Like I said, Maybe I'm just being paranoid cause of my friends death.


Alternative Names Return to top

Cardiomyopathy - hypertrophic (HCM); IHSS; Idiopathic hypertrophic subaortic stenosis; Asymmetric septal hypertrophy; ASH; HOCM; Hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy
Definition Return to top

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a condition in which the heart muscle becomes thick. The thickening makes it harder for blood to leave the heart, forcing the heart to work harder to pump blood.

Causes Return to top

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is often asymmetrical, meaning one part of the heart is thicker than the other parts. The condition is usually passed down through families (inherited). It is believed to be a result of several problems (defects) with the genes that control heart muscle growth.

Younger people are likely to have a more severe form of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. However, the condition is seen in people of all ages.

Symptoms Return to top

Chest pain
Fainting, especially during exercise
Heart failure (in some patients)
High blood pressure (hypertension)
Light-headedness, especially after activity or exercise
Sensation of feeling the heart beat (palpitations)
Shortness of breath
Other symptoms that may occur are:

Fatigue, reduced activity tolerance
Shortness of breath when lying down
Some patients have no symptoms. They may not even realize they have the condition until it is found during a routine medical exam.

The first symptom of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy among many young patients is sudden collapse and possible death. This is caused by very abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias). Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a major cause of death in young athletes who seem completely healthy but die during heavy exercise.

Exams and Tests Return to top

The health care provider will perform a physical exam and listen to the heart and lungs with a stethoscope. Listening with a stethoscope may reveal abnormal heart sounds or a murmur. These sounds may change with different body positions.

The pulse in your arms and neck will also be checked. The doctor may feel an abnormal heartbeat in the chest.

Tests used to diagnose heart muscle thickness, problems with blood flow, or leaky heart valves (mitral valve regurgitation) may include:

24-hour Holter monitor (heart monitor)
Cardiac catheterization
Chest x-ray
Echocardiography (the most common test) with Doppler ultrasound
MRI of the heart
Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE)
Blood tests may be done to rule out other possible diseases.

If you are diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, your health care provider may recommend that your close blood relatives (family members) be screened for the condition.

Treatment Return to top

The goal of treatment is to control symptoms and prevent complications. Some patients may need to stay in the hospital until the condition is under control (stabilized).

If you have symptoms, you may need medication to help the heart contract and relax correctly. Drugs include beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers. These medicines reduce chest pain and pain during exercise. Medications will often relieve symptoms so patients do not need more invasive treatments.

Some people with arrhythmias may need anti-arrhythmic medications. If the arrhythmia is due to atrial fibrillation, blood thinners will also be used to reduce the risk of blood clots.

Some patients may have a permanent pacemaker placed. However, pacemakers are used less often today than they were in the past.

When blood flow out of the heart is severely blocked, an operation called surgical myectomy is done. This procedure cuts and removes the thickened part of the heart. Patients who have this procedure often show significant improvement. If the heart's mitral valve is leaking, surgery may be done to repair or replace the valve.

In some cases, patients may be given an injection of alcohol into the arteries that feed the thickened part of the heart (alcohol septal ablation).

An implantable-cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) may be needed to prevent sudden death. ICDs are used in high-risk patients. High risks include:

Drop in blood pressure during exercise
Family history of cardiac arrest
History of cardiac arrest or ventricular tachycardia
History of unexplained fainting
Life-threatening heart rhythms on a Holter monitor
Severe heart muscle thickness
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top

Some people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy may not have symptoms and live a normal lifespan. Others may get worse over time or rapidly. The condition may develop into dilated cardiomyopathy in some patients.

People with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are at higher risk for sudden death than the normal population. Sudden death can occur at a young age.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a well-known cause of sudden death in athletes. Almost half of deaths in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy happen during or just after the patient has done some type of physical activity.

If you have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, always follow your doctor's advice concerning exercise and medical appointments. Avoid strenuous exercise.

Possible Complications Return to top

Dilated cardiomyopathy
Heart failure
Life-threatening heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias)
Severe injury from fainting
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if:

You have any symptoms of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
You develop chest pain, palpitations, faintness or other new or unexplained symptoms
Prevention Return to top

If you are diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, your health care provider may recommend that your close blood relatives (family members) be screened for the condition.

Some patients with mild forms of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are only diagnosed by screening echocardiograms because of their known family history.

If you have high blood pressure, make sure you take your medication and follow your doctor's recommendations.

References Return to top

Maron BJ. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Zipes DP, Libby P, Bonow RO, Braunwald E, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 8th ed. St. Louis, Mo: WB Saunders; 2007: chap 65


I've had an X Ray and Ekg about a month ago. Like I said, Maybe I'm just being paranoid cause of my friends death.


Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is relatively rare, occurring in no more than 0.2 percent of the US population, or 2 in 500 people

quit worrying


I guess your right. Unless god hates me, I should be ok.


Chest pain
Light-headedness, especially after activity or exercise
Sensation of feeling the heart beat (palpitations)
Shortness of breath

I have all of these, should I be worried?


Was that statement a joke?




Ha! Isn't that how you're supposed to feel after training? Add 'vomiting' and 'sweating profusely' and all of T-Nation is dead.

OP, you have no medical problems, and you suddenly assume you have a rare condition because someone you know died from it?

It's called hypochondria.


If your EKG was ok you are fine.

Here is an interesting recent article about hypertrophic cardiomyopathy:

BTW Strongman Jesse Marunde died of this.


Cutino Mobley, of the NBA, retired yesterday beacuse of this.

He is 32.

I have had some chest pains and higher blood pressure the last 12 months that have made me think about this too.

I hate going to Doctors. I know that is not good.


Good find.

So does an Ekg Rule out any abnormalities???


hey man if you die of it, at least you die by a cool sounding disease.

ECGs don't have a direct correlation to the size of your heart. But it can be branched from it I suppose. Stop worrying dude, you're fine. But to answer your question, and in your case, I would say yes.


I should find a way to get the echo exam to rid of any doubts,

but for now, I'll take your advice and stop worrying. Thank you and thanks to everyone else who took the time to answer. It really did help.