Just about everyone involved with HCM has heard the name Dr. Barry J. Maron. Dr. Maron has devoted his entire career to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and has been perhaps the physician most associated with HCM, having gotten his start in the 1970s at the National Heart Institute.
In a brand new autobiographical essay by Dr. Maron, he retells his recent experience being diagnosed and treated for heart failure.
When Dr. Maron experienced edema, difficulty lying flat, and trouble breathing, he rationalized it all away until he experienced a terrifying and life threatening episode, and even then, he decided to call an Uber to take him to the hospital instead of an ambulance!
Once hospitalized, doctors were able to get to the root of his problem and treat Dr. Maron appropriately. Having received the proper care, he is now feeling much better.
Dr. Maron’s article concludes with three main takeaways:
- Physicians should not diagnose themselves;
- Heart failure is treatable; and
- Listen to your cardiologist and live a healthy lifestyle!
This week, researchers from the eight HCM centers comprising the Sarcomeric Human Cardiomyopathy Registry [SHARE Registry] published a paper that every HCM patient should take to heart.
The sobering findings are that overweight HCM patients have a higher incidence of obstruction, heart failure and atrial fibrillation than their normal weight counterparts. As a result of this study, the researchers suggest heightened attention to weight management and exercise in order to prevent disease-related progression and complications.
Continue reading “Overweight HCM Patients Fare Worse”
This article by Dr. Stephen Heitner of Oregon Health & Science University covers some simple lifestyle changes that can help HCM patients feel much better. In particular, Dr. Heitner mentions:
- Eating smaller meals and avoiding large carbohydrate rich meals.
- Avoiding dehydration
- Limiting alcohol
- Avoiding exercise after eating
- Engaging in moderate intensity exercise
- Managing weight
- Evaluating and treating sleep apnea and other sleep breathing disorders
- Getting appropriate treatment for anxiety and depression
The above lifestyle changes, combined with appropriate medical treatment, will keep HCM patients feeling their best.
An article entitled Psychosocial Impact of a Positive Gene Result for Asymptomatic Relatives at Risk of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy was published in this week’s Journal for Genetic Counseling.
The article focuses on the motivation for and the impact of HCM genetic testing on family members. The 32 participants in the study all encouraged family members to undergo genetic testing with the hope that the knowledge gained would benefit family members down the line. However, the study found that the psychological impact of a positive result, in the absence of overt disease, was highly variable. Some gene positive individuals perceived that they had an absolute risk of developing HCM, with substantial detriment to their lifestyle choices, while others were not at all affected by the result and made no lifestyle changes.
Continue reading “Continuing Genetic Counseling Helpful for Silent HCM Gene Carriers”
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.