(WYTV) – One in every 500 people or so has a genetic heart problem — and they might not even know it.
The technical term for it is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. It’s a thickening of the heart muscle, making it more difficult to pump blood.
Some cardiologists specialize in treating this problem.
The common symptoms may include shortness of breath or chest pain, especially during exercise.
“It’s completely compatible with a normal life span and a normal quality of life. There are risky things we need to look out for, but that really affects the minority of people,” said Dr. Steve Ommen, of the Mayo Clinic.
Many people with the disease will not have serious health problems, but some cases will need treatment.
A cardiologist will take a look at the risk a patient might have, including dangerous heart rhythms. In this case, an implantable defibrillator would become a safety net.
Medication or surgery may treat this issue of a thickened heart muscle.
Surgeons are prepared to use a catheter to dig in there and thin down the muscle where it’s getting in the way of blood flow.