Two articles published this week highlight how attitudes relating to exercise and HCM have changed in recent years. Older recommendations that HCM patients should refrain from exercise appear to be outdated.
The first article, an editorial published in Circulation by Drs. Sara Saberi and Sharlene Day from the University of Michigan’s HCM Center, reviews the statistics relating to sudden death of athletes and questions the long held notion that participation in vigorous activity or competitive sports is dangerous in HCM. This editorial also points out that moderate exercise is the only non-surgical intervention proven to increase exercise capacity in patients with HCM.
See this HCMBeat interview with Drs. Saberi and Day for more details about their groundbreaking study.
A second article from researchers in Australia used the number of a patient’s steps per day as an indicator of HCM disease severity and the patient’s functional limitations.
It seems that the time has come for HCM patients to get up off their couches and get moving!
According to this recent article published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, lifestyle choices can influence the development and/or progression of HCM.
In particular, the authors made the following recommendations:
- Exercise: Recreational exercise should be encouraged in HCM patients.
- This recommendation was largely based on the findings of the recent RESET-HCM study which found that moderate exercise, specifically tailored to each individual patient’s capacity, was beneficial to the patient’s general health and well being. **For an in-depth look at the RESET-HCM study, check out this recent HCMBeat interview with the authors of the study, Drs. Sara Saberi and Sharlene Day.
- Eating and Drinking:
- Patients should avoid large meals and should not exercise immediately after eating.
- Care should be taken to avoid becoming dehydrated.
- Alcohol should only be consumed in moderation.
- Healthy weight should be maintained.
- Hypertension should be treated aggressively, though treatment may be challenging, especially in obstructive HCM.
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea, which may exist in as many as 70% of HCM patients, should be treated to minimize potential for arrhythmia and to improve blood flow.
The same Fitbit you wear to count your steps may soon have an additional purpose: it could detect atrial fibrillation.
Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heartbeat which could cause a stroke if not properly treated. Yet, it often goes unnoticed by a person experiencing it.
According to this story in Time, Fitbit is developing software which would enable its existing trackers to detect afib, and thus allow time for appropriate action before it is too late.
This technology could be of great benefit to heart patients. Not only does the Fitbit encourage you to exercise, it might just save your life!
Editor’s note: This is our first interview feature on HCMBeat. In the future, we hope to feature more interviews with other HCM researchers who have published articles of interest to the HCM community.
By now, you have probably already heard the buzz about RESET- HCM – a study about the effects of exercise on HCM patients conducted by Dr. Sara Saberi and Dr. Sharlene Day at the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Clinic of the University of Michigan’s Frankel Cardiovascular Center in collaboration with Dr. Matthew Wheeler and Dr. Euan Ashley of Stanford’s HCM Center. The findings were presented at the American College of Cardiology Conference on March 17, 2017 held in Washington D.C. and were the subject of this feature on HCMBeat.
Recently, Cynthia Waldman of HCMBeat had the opportunity to sit down with Drs. Saberi and Day for a detailed conversation (over Skype) about the study. What follows is a transcript of their conversation (which has been edited for readability).
Continue reading “RESET-HCM: Rethinking Exercise for HCM Patients – Interview with Dr. Sara Saberi and Dr. Sharlene Day”
Results from a recent study conducted at the University of Michigan and Stanford show that patients who participated in a moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise program showed a small, but statistically significant increase (6%) in exercise capacity over those who did not participate in the program. Of note, no adverse events were reported in any of the 136 adults who participated in the RESET-HCM study over its four-month duration. These results were announced over the weekend at the American College of Cardiology meeting in Washington, D.C.
A companion editorial noted that this study is important for establishing the positive impact of exercise on HCM patients. Now, the need is for future research to establish safe exercise guidelines for HCM patients. Many remain reluctant to exercise due to fear of suffering an adverse event during exercise.
Here is a video interview with one of the authors of the study, Dr. Sara Saberi, discussing the findings at ACC.
Stay tuned to HCMBeat for more about this important work which will hopefully lead to improved quality of life for HCM patients.
A recent study by Stanford’s HCM Center found that HCM patients whose exercise options have been limited by the disease may find it difficult to adapt to their newly restrictive lifestyle. The researchers found that it was very important for patients to fully understood their restrictions and limitations.
Interacting with other HCM patients in the greater HCM community provided an effective way to obtain social support and information which supplemented that obtained from health care providers.
According to research presented at the 2016 European Society of Cardiology Congress today, sudden cardiac arrest from HCM, which has long been thought to result from exercise, is actually more likely to occur at rest, or even during sleep, according to Dr. Gherardo Finocchiaro, a cardiologist at St George’s University in London. Dr. Finocchiaro also pointed out that of the 184 HCM patients in his study, almost 80% had no previous symptoms of HCM, and only 1 in 5 had been diagnosed with HCM before their deaths. Interestingly, most of the sudden deaths from HCM analyzed in the study occurred in patients in their 30s and 40s.
According to a recent study of HCM patients, more than half of the patients surveyed did not participate in adequate physical activity due to complaints of pain, injury and disability.
The takeaway from this study is that for those with HCM, physical activity should be encouraged to the extent possible for each patient.
For more on exercise, see the AHA Guidelines for exercise on the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy – HCM For Short page of this website and the HCM exercise program developed by Toronto’s Peter Munk Cardiac Centre listed at bottom of the Resources page of this website.