Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is one of the many and threatening disorders of the human cardiovascular system. As a closed system of the heart, blood vessels work with the heart to pump blood and allow that blood and additional nutrients to circulate to all parts of the body. The cardiovascular system functions to; keep oxygen rich and oxygen poor blood separate, keep blood flowing in one direction, generate blood pressure, and regulate the body’s needed blood supply. However, it is difficult for the heart to do all this when cardio coverings are too big for the heart. This condition is known as Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.
The human heart is about the size of a fist and is made of a variety of tissues which can be divided into coverings or walls of the heart. In regard to the heart coverings, there are two which make up a bigger one called the pericardium. It is characterized by a double serious membrane. The visceral pericardium is next to the heart and the parietal pericardium is the outside layer. Together these coverings are what is outside of the heart. Serous fluid fills the space in between the layers of pericardium. The order of this is disrupted when the heart muscles or coverings becomes abnormally thick. For the most part, it is believed that Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is a genetic disorder. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is more common than it sounds but its most abundant form is mild. The younger and more active an individual person is, it is more probable for him or her to have a more severe form of the disorder. The condition is seen in all people regardless of geographical region and sex, but some people don’t even know they have it.
There are many symptoms that are characteristic of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, whereby, the disorder many be difficult to discover at first but soon unravels. Although some rare patients may not have any symptoms or noticeable ones, the diagnosis is determined by chest pains, dizziness, fatigue, light-headedness, and shortness of breath. Obviously, these signs of illness are general and could account for many sicknesses. However, they should still be taken into consideration. Other signs of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy would be heart failure and high blood pressure. A more noticeable and alarming symptom of this would also be irregular heart beats because the path of blood flow risks being blocked to the rest of the body, due to the excess of heart coverings. In order to produce a full diagnosis, doctors will conduct a series of thorough tests. The most common examples are; chest x-rays, MRI of the heart, ECG, and Echocardiogram, which uses sound waves to create a moving picture of the heart. Another form of tests might include a holter monitor which is a machine that constantly records the rhythms of the heart. Lastly, a coronary catheterization may be used that works as special dye and x-rays the route and flow of blood in the cardiovascular system.
If tests conclude that a patient has Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, treatment is available but there is no direct cure. The treatment will serve more to restrain the symptoms as well as to avoid future and further problems. The general symptoms mentioned above like chest pains may be dealt with using basic medication. In addition, medication may also be offered to patients that suffered from abnormal heart beats. The concept of the pacemaker once more popular has been applied to conditions like this but is experiencing less usage nowadays. The most effective method of treatment though is an operation called surgical septal myectomy. Despite the high success rate of this procedure it is used as a last resort, specifically when the blood of the heart is hindered from flowing. The operation is open heart and is done with the primary intention of removing portions of the interventricular septum which is the part that is too thick and causing all the problems. Other components of the heart are also repaired during this opportunity like valves that have been damaged because of the heart’s disorder. The majority of techniques for treatment can improve the health of a patient but only so far. Patients still risk additional complications and sudden death, especially if they are athletes. However, the surgical procedure is the best option and alters the odds a bit more than the others but similarly maintains future risks.
In conclusion, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is one of the many disorders of the heart which athletes specifically should be aware of. The common form of this is not life threatening or as brutal as it may seem above. Disorders like these are informative about understanding the cardiovascular system and the order which allows it to function. People should continue to exercise but be cautious.
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2011, March 4). Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. Retrieved March 19, 2012, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hypertrophic-cardiomyopathy/DS00948
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. (2012, March 22). Retrieved March 22, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypertrophic_cardiomyopathy#Signs_and_symptoms
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. (2010, May 17). Retrieved March 22, 2012, from A.D.A.M. Encyclopedia database.