Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: When Your Heart’s Too Big
If you’re an athlete, there’s one muscle that can become too big: your heart.
Sure, it sounds counterintuitive. The purpose of training, after all, is to grow and strengthen your muscles. Doesn’t a strong heart fuel athletic performance? In most cases, yes. In general, it’s completely normal and healthy for your heart to adapt to intense exercise by becoming stronger, thicker, and larger — but in some cases, a big heart can be dangerous.
Called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), excessive thickening of the heart muscle affects an estimated 600,000 Americans. HCM is a genetic disorder, meaning it’s usually inherited from one of your parents.