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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a disease that causes heart muscle cells to become large. As the cells get larger, they cause the walls of your ventricles to become thick and stiff. The ventricles are the 2 lower chambers of your heart. They pump blood to your lungs and the rest of your body. When the ventricles are thick or stiff, your heart cannot fill with enough blood. This decreases the blood and oxygen supply to the rest of your body. HCM is usually inherited, but it may develop over time. High blood pressure, thyroid disease, or diabetes increase your risk for HCM.
Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) or have someone call if:
- You have chest pain that may be worse when you take a deep breath or cough. You may cough up blood.
- You have a sudden cold sweat, especially with chest discomfort or trouble breathing.
- You feel very lightheaded or dizzy, especially with chest discomfort or trouble breathing.
- You have pain or discomfort in your back, neck, jaw, abdomen, or one or both of your arms.
- You have a severe headache or vision loss.
- You have weakness in an arm or leg.
- You are confused or have trouble speaking.
- You suddenly have trouble breathing.
Call your cardiologist if:
- You gain weight for no known reason.
- You feel weak or more tired than usual.
- You have increased swelling in your legs, ankles, feet, or abdomen.
- Your symptoms return or get worse.
- You feel like your heart is beating faster than normal, fluttering, or jumping in your chest.
- You urinate less than usual or not at all.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
You may need any of the following:
- Heart medicine helps strengthen or regulate your heartbeat.
- Blood thinners help prevent blood clots. Clots can cause strokes, heart attacks, and death. The following are general safety guidelines to follow while you are taking a blood thinner:
- Watch for bleeding and bruising while you take blood thinners. Watch for bleeding from your gums or nose. Watch for blood in your urine and bowel movements. Use a soft washcloth on your skin, and a soft toothbrush to brush your teeth. This can keep your skin and gums from bleeding. If you shave, use an electric shaver. Do not play contact sports.
- Tell your dentist and other healthcare providers that you take a blood thinner. Wear a bracelet or necklace that says you take this medicine.
- Do not start or stop any other medicines unless your healthcare provider tells you to. Many medicines cannot be used with blood thinners.
- Take your blood thinner exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not skip does or take less than prescribed. Tell your provider right away if you forget to take your blood thinner, or if you take too much.
- Warfarin is a blood thinner that you may need to take. The following are things you should be aware of if you take warfarin:
- Foods and medicines can affect the amount of warfarin in your blood. Do not make major changes to your diet while you take warfarin. Warfarin works best when you eat about the same amount of vitamin K every day. Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables and certain other foods. Ask for more information about what to eat when you are taking warfarin.
- You will need to see your healthcare provider for follow-up visits when you are on warfarin. You will need regular blood tests. These tests are used to decide how much medicine you need.
- Blood pressure medicine helps lower your blood pressure. A controlled blood pressure helps protect your organs, such as your heart, lungs, brain, and kidneys. Take your blood pressure medicine exactly as directed.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
- Manage your other health conditions. Diabetes and high blood pressure that are not controlled will increase your risk for heart problems.
- Limit liquids. Talk to your healthcare provider about how much liquid to drink in a day. Your risk for fluid buildup and swelling increases if you drink too much. Your risk for dehydration increases if you do not drink enough liquid. Your heart has to work harder with too much or too little fluid.
- Eat heart-healthy foods. Heart-healthy foods help lower your risk for heart disease. Your provider may recommend the DASH eating plan. The DASH plan is low in sodium, processed sugar, unhealthy fats, and total fat. It is high in potassium, calcium, and fiber. These can be found in vegetables, fruit, and whole-grain foods. Eat a variety of fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables and fruits. Eat vegetables and fruits without creamy sauces or added salt and sugars. You can get more fiber by eating brown rice instead of white rice. Oatmeal and beans are also good sources of fiber. Eat healthy fats, such as peanut butter, nuts, tuna, and avocados.
- Avoid alcohol. Alcohol can increase your symptoms by causing dehydration and weight gain.
- Talk to your healthcare provider about exercise. Your healthcare provider will help you make a plan for exercise. He or she will tell you if you need to avoid certain exercises or activities.
- Do not smoke. Smoking weakens your heart and makes shortness of breath and other symptoms worse. If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
Follow up with your doctor or cardiologist as directed:
You may need to have tests to check your heart every 1 to 2 years. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
Learn more about Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (Discharge Care)
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Mayo Clinic Reference
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