Lifestyle changes can reduce your risk of complications related to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, including:
- Physical activity level. Competitive sports are generally not recommended for people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Many people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy may be able to participate in low- to moderate-intensity exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle. Ask your doctor for guidance.
- Eat a healthy diet. A healthy diet is an important part of maintaining your heart health.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Maintaining a healthy weight will prevent excessive stress on your heart and reduce health risks associated with surgery or other procedures.
- Alcohol use. If you have symptoms or a history of rhythms provoked by alcohol, ask your doctor for guidance about safe levels of alcohol use. Drinking too much alcohol can trigger irregular heart rhythms and can lead to increased blockage of blood flow in your heart.
- Take your medications. Make sure to take your medications as prescribed.
- Have regular medical appointments. Your doctor may recommend regular follow-up appointments to evaluate your condition. Let your doctor know if you have any new or worse symptoms.
Women who have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can generally have normal pregnancies. However, if you have symptoms and complications of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, your doctor may recommend that you see a doctor experienced in caring for women with high-risk conditions during your pregnancy.
Being diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can cause a range of difficult emotions. Like many people with this condition, you may experience feelings of grief, fear and anger. These responses are appropriate to the lifestyle changes that come with your diagnosis.
To cope with your condition:
- Reduce your stress. Find ways to reduce your stress.
- Get support. Get support from your friends and family.
- Follow lifestyle changes your doctor recommends. Making healthy lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight, can help you cope with living with your condition.
Because hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is inherited, it can't be prevented. But it's important to identify the condition as early as possible to guide treatment and prevent complications.
Preventing sudden death
Implantation of a cardioverter-defibrillator has been shown to help prevent sudden cardiac death, which occurs in about 1 percent of people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Unfortunately, because many people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy don't realize they have it, there are instances where the first sign of a problem is sudden cardiac death. These cases can happen in seemingly healthy young people, including high school athletes and other young, active adults. News of these types of deaths generates understandable attention because they're so unexpected, but parents should be aware these deaths are quite rare.
Still, experts in heart abnormalities generally recommend that people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy not participate in most competitive sports with the possible exception of some low intensity sports. Discuss specific recommendations with your cardiologist.
Aug. 10, 2017