Many people with
hypertrophic cardiomyopathy do not need treatment. But
in some cases, having a thickened heart muscle can cause problems. If symptoms
develop, treatment is usually recommended. Medicines cannot cure hypertrophic
cardiomyopathy, but they may be used to treat complications, including
atrial fibrillation and
heart failure. These medicines include:
Beta-blockers. Beta-blockers are often used to
treat people who develop symptoms such as shortness of breath or chest pain.
They lower blood pressure, slow heart rate, and improve blood flow, which helps
decrease symptoms and improves your ability to exercise. They may even prevent
or delay the progression of heart failure related to hypertrophic
Calcium channel blockers. Calcium channel blockers are used to help relieve symptoms, especially chest pain. These
medicines also slow heart rate and lower blood pressure.
Antiarrhythmic medicines. These medicines are used to control the heart rhythm. One example is disopyramide (Norpace). An antiarrhythmic medicine might be used if you also have atrial fibrillation.
Atrial fibrillation occurs in about 1 out of 4 people
who have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. In
atrial fibrillation, abnormal electrical impulses
cause the upper chambers of the heart (atria) to fibrillate, or quiver,
resulting in irregular and rapid beating of the ventricles, the heart's main
pump. For most people, this aspect of atrial fibrillation in itself is usually
not life-threatening. But for people who have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy,
atrial fibrillation can increase your risk for other abnormal heart rhythms
that can be life-threatening. It also increases your risk for heart failure and
stroke. For these reasons, most doctors aggressively treat atrial fibrillation
in people who have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Aggressive treatment may
include medicines to control the heart rate or rhythm,
electrical cardioversion to return the heart to its
normal rhythm, or catheter ablation or surgery to destroy heart tissue that is
causing atrial fibrillation. For more information, see the topic
Which one of the following statements is true?
Each year, heart disease claims the lives of
more women then breast
cancer and lung cancer combined.
A greater percentage of women die within one year of a heart attack than men.
The death rate of African-American women due to cardiovascular disease is
greater than white women.
Diabetes is a risk factor for heart disease.
The answer: All of them. And experts say they represent only the tip of the
iceberg when it comes to the facts...
Anticoagulants often are prescribed for people who
have atrial fibrillation. Anticoagulants help protect against blood clots that
develop in the heart. Blood clots can be dangerous because they may break loose
and travel through the bloodstream (thromboembolism), which may cause a stroke,
heart attack, or blocked blood flow to an arm or leg.
with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy should be assessed by a cardiologist to
find out their risk for
ventricular tachycardia, an abnormally fast heart rate
that can result in sudden death. For those in a
high-risk category, an
implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) appears
to be the most effective treatment for preventing sudden death.
Because of the risk of sudden death, it is important for people with
hypertrophic cardiomyopathy to avoid too much
strenuous activity and intense exercise. Talk to your doctor about what level
of exercise and what kinds of activities are safe. Prolonged activity in hot
weather is not recommended, because dehydration can also make symptoms in people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy worse.