Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is an infection that affects the heart muscles and causes thickening of the muscle walls (Maron, 2012). Often, thickening occurs at the septum region, below the valves of the aorta and between the ventricles. In some cases, there is bulging of the thickened septum into the left ventricle. When blockage of the ventricle occurs, blood is not able to flow out of the ventricles, particularly the left ventricle. Ventricular blockage implies that the ventricle must be strained in order to allow circulation of blood to the other parts of the body via muscular heart pumping. In addition, the disease is associated with loss of flexibility of the heart walls and unusual abnormalities in mitral and aortic valve. When the disease affects the mitral valve, blood leaking in a backward direction occurs. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a disease that affect all people regardless of their age . Also, this disease is genetically inheritable from parents to children. Being a genetic condition, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is brought about as a result of changes in genes through mutation. The disease spreads in a cycle involving families. Notably, a child of an individual with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is 50% vulnerable or likely to contract the disease. In the United Kingdom, 1 in every 500 persons suffers from the disease (Maron, 2012). However, most people who have this condition in the UK hardly show any symptoms.
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Causes and severity
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is caused by gene mutations that are brought forth by defective genes that stimulate the heart muscular growth into unusual thickness. The muscle cells of the heart are abnormally positioned when the disease establishes. This creates a condition of the myofiber disarray.
Similarly, the severity of the HCM disease differs among individuals. In most cases, individuals suffering from the disease have their septal walls between the hearts bottom chambers enlarged. This blocks the continuous circulation of blood. Sometimes, the disease can develop in the absence of significant blood flow obstruction. In such situations, the left ventricle becomes very stiff and inflexible, and this causes reduction in the volume of blood pumped to other body parts for every heartbeat. Also, the ventricular blood volume decreases. The disease in this form does not cause obstruction of blood flow, and the condition is described as non-obstructive HCM.
Symptoms and diagnosis
Surprisingly, some persons with HCM have symptoms while others only start to show symptoms long after the establishment of the disease. In the initial stages of development of the disease, signs and/or symptoms are hardly observed. This is not until the severe stages of the disease. When the disease reaches severe level, the heart becomes less strong, and many symptoms of heart failure emerge. Often the signs and symptoms include fatigue, short breaths, ankle selling, abdomen inflammation and vasodilation of the veins in the neck. In addition, the disease is associated with fainting when engaging in physical activity, irregular heartbeats, incessant coughs chest pain, heart murmurs and light headedness.
The diagnosis of this disease relies on an individual’s results based on tests and the medical history. Tests for checking the presence of the disease in an individual are carried out by a cardiologist, an expert in heart diseases. The doctor follows the family history of an individual in order to trace the possibility of the disease’s presence. Furthermore, this disease is heritable.
The cardiologist uses a stethoscope to detect heart sounds during the physical examination of the test. Notably, “ crackling” in the lungs may be due to heart failure. Similarly, the location, timing and intensity of heart sounds may represent obstructive cardiomyopathy. For a blood test, blood is taken out of a vein and examined to help in further investigation of the problem. Besides blood tests, chest x-rays are used to check for fluid accumulation in the lungs as well as showing whether heart enlargement has occurred. Other tests used for diagnosis of HCM include echocardiography, stress test, cardiac catheterization, coronary angiography, genetic testing and myocardial biopsy.
It is important to note that some individuals may be suffering from cardiomyopathy and may not need treatment. Such people have no signs or symptoms. However, for some persons treatment is inevitable. The treatment an individual with the disease receives depends on age, severity of complications and symptoms, type of cardiomyopathy and overall health. There are several ways of treating hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. These include; medicines, surgery, implanted devices and lifestyle changes.
Proper selection of diet contributes towards a healthy lifestyle. For people suffering from HCM, their diets must be rich in fruits, grains and vegetables. Little sodium salt should be used in the preparation of foods in order to avoid problems such as high blood pressure. Regular exercising is highly recommendable. In addition, other lifestyle behaviors such as smoking, overweight, drug abuse, depression and excess sugar in beverages must be avoided by individuals suffering from the disease.
Besides healthy lifestyles, there are a number of pathological drugs that are used in the treatment of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. For example, ACE inhibitors, beta blockers and receptor blockers can be used slow the heart rate. The medicines are important in preventing arrhythmias. Excess sodium salt is eliminated from the body when one takes diuretics. Similarly, anticoagulants can be vital in prevention of blood clotting. The drugs used in the treatment of this disease addressed particular symptoms, and they can be administered together in a balanced dosage to meet the broad objective of healing the hypertrophic cardiomyopathy disease.
Additionally, surgery can be carried out to treat hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The types of surgery employed in the treatment of the disease include heart transplant, septal myomectomy and device implantations to the heart. In septal myomectomy, the thickened tissue of the septum is partly removed in order to eliminate the extension that is protruding into the left ventricle. Ultimately, blood circulation out to the body via the heart is improved. The advantage of this surgical operation is that once the tissue has been removed it has no regrowth.
Specific parts of the heart can be improved by introduction or substitution of such parts with certain devices. For example, in some cases the surgeons place a pacemaker in a patient’s chest in order to check unusual heart beats. Heart transplant is a last option in the treatment of cardiopathy. it is done when all other treatments have failed. A diseased donor of a healthy heart allows for success of heart transplant.
Many people living with HCM have mild or no symptoms. In addition, those persons enjoy their normal lives. The condition of a patient suffering from the disease may remain constant for a long time. On the contrary, some patients undergo trouble and require medication. Lack of observable symptoms is a risk that may lead to sudden death.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is never vital. Individuals can live with the disease for long periods. Also, several drugs and other treatment procedures for managing the disease are available. Therefore, it is wise to encourage people to adopt healthy lifestyles in order to prevent themselves from the disease.
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