Lifestyle Guidelines for Patients with HCM

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) patients can play a major role in their own treatment by living a healthy lifestyle, staying fit, and avoiding activities that can compromise their condition. Your heart's ability to compensate for a stiff and sluggish muscle is directly related to your overall fitness level, so it is important to:

  • Get regular physical exercise, at a level approved by your physician-walking and biking in moderation can increase your endurance and contribute to your general sense of well-being
  • Avoid intense burst of exercise, weightlifting, and competitive sports
  • Don't lift heavy objects while performing household chores
  • Avoid environmental extremes (heat/cold)
  • Follow a heart-healthy diet
  • Stay hydrated: keep drinking water throughout the day
  • Pay strict attention to dental hygiene: a minor, untended gum infection can spread to the heart, leading to endocarditis
  • Watch any cuts or scratches for signs of infection
  • Learn how to manage stress through meditation, biofeedback, or relaxation exercises
  • Consult your physician before using alcohol or caffeine
  • Don't smoke
  • Don't do street drugs (cocaine and methamphetamines are extremely dangerous for HCM patients)
  • Don't take diet pills or over-the-counter cold medications
  • Avoid hot tubs and saunas
  • Be sure to keep regular appointments with your cardiologist to monitor your condition
  • Keep an list of the medications you take, their dosages, route of administration and frequency of use