Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: What you need to know

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Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is the most common genetic heart condition in the United States, affecting at least one in 500 people.

Dr. David Fermin, Spectrum Health Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Program medical director, explains symptoms, and how to seek treatment.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) causes abnormal thickening of the heart muscles, causing many problems like obstruction of blood flow out of the heart, heart failure or heart rhythm disorder, leading to loss of consciousness or sudden cardiac death.

HCM can affect anyone at any age, and often goes unnoticed because many have few to no symptoms. When symptoms do show, they include shortness of breath, dizziness, palpitations, or uncomfortable feelings in the chest.

When a person has HCM, it usually has a genetic origin, so Dr. Fermin recommends that patients that have family members with HCM should be screened and seek genetic counseling.

To treat the disease some patients may need cardiac surgery, but in more minor cases patients just need extensive evaluation, regular follow-up, education, and genetic counseling.

The program at Spectrum Health recently received a national Center of Excellence by the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association. The award recognizes that Spectrum Health's HCM for providing the best in diagnostic techniques, cardiology specialists, surgeons and more to make sure patients are receiving the best treatment.

To learn more about the Spectrum Health Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Program, call (616)-885-5355 or

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