What Causes Hardening of the Heart Muscle?

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Hardening and thickening of the heart muscle, known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, is often the result of genetic inheritance, according to MedlinePlus. Defects and mutations in the genes that manage heart muscle growth, while inherited, can manifest differently in severity or symptoms across a family.

As a result of genetic origin, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can develop at any age, notes Mayo Clinic. Cases of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy that develop in younger patients and children are often the most severe instances of the disease.

It is important to identify any potential family history of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or other muscle growth disorders, as only one copy of the mutation is necessary to pass on the condition, notes Genetics Home Reference. An increased likelihood of inheriting hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can also result in the emergence of other heart conditions such as heart failure, blood clots, valve problems, or cardiac arrest and sudden death.

If there is a family history of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, consultation with a doctor is recommended in order to monitor any changes in heart muscle condition and receive important information that may help prevent or delay instances of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, as stated by Mayo Clinic. In most cases, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy cannot be properly prevented, and prescribed medications or surgery may be necessary.