Top 10 Symptoms of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: A Detailed Insight into this Heart Condition

2. Shortness of Breath – The Unseen Hurdle in Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Shortness of Breath - The Unseen Hurdle in Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

A second, major symptom of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is shortness of breath, or dyspnea. It might seem like a relatively benign symptom – after all, who hasn’t been short of breath after a quick sprint or a walk up a flight of stairs? However, in the context of HCM, dyspnea is far from harmless.

To understand why let’s delve into the mechanics of how our bodies use oxygen. Normally, our heart pumps oxygen-rich blood to the body’s tissues, and when we engage in strenuous activities, our tissues need more oxygen. This increased demand results in faster and deeper breaths, which is perfectly normal. However, for people with HCM, things operate a bit differently.

HCM causes the heart muscle to thicken and stiffen, making it harder for the heart to fill with and pump blood efficiently. As a result, the body’s tissues don’t receive enough oxygen, leading to dyspnea even during mild activities. The lack of oxygen can also make individuals feel fatigued, further impacting their ability to participate in physical activities.

Moreover, HCM can lead to fluid build-up in the lungs, a condition known as pulmonary edema. This excess fluid can make breathing even more difficult, causing a feeling of being “drowned” or “suffocated.” This can be a very distressing experience and needs immediate medical attention.

Dyspnea in HCM is more than just being “out of breath.” It’s a significant symptom that indicates the heart isn’t pumping efficiently, and that medical intervention is required. Recognizing and responding to this symptom can prevent complications and improve the quality of life for those affected by HCM. (2)

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