How can you differentiate hypertrophic cardiomyopathy from athlete’s heart?
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a hereditary disease with almost 50% recurrence in first order relatives. Athlete’s heart is a thickening of the heart muscles due to training. Athlete’s heart is not dangerous, it is a physiological adaptation of the heart to training / increased load. The simplest way to differentiate the thickening of heart muscle in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy with that in athlete’s heart is by temporary deconditioning. Deconditioning (stopping training) for a few weeks causes regression of the thickening in athlete’s heart while it has no effect on HCM which is genetically determined.