Patient Support

HCM - The Disease

What is HCM?

HCM is a disease that affects the heart muscle and could lead to other serious health conditions

The heart is a muscle that pumps oxygen-rich blood around the body by contracting and relaxing.

In someone with HCM, the walls of the heart become thicker than they should be. This excessive
thickening can cause the heart to become stiffer and leaves less room for blood to fill the heart.

This means a heart affected by HCM has to work harder and may have difficulty pumping oxygen-rich blood out to the rest of the body. As a result, those with HCM can experience a lack of energy, a fast heartbeat, chest pain, or other symptoms.


HCM can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity.

  • The reported prevalence of HCM ranges from 1 in 200 to 1 in 500 people in the general population



Common symptoms can include:
Shortness of breath
Rapid heartbeat
Chest pain
Feeling dizzy or light-headed


Those with hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy (HOCM, oHCM), apical hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or asymmetric septal hypertrophic cardiomyopathy may think these are completely different diseases. When in reality it is all hypertrophic cardiomyopathy with varied physical presentations.

Put differently, the words "obstructive," "apical," or "asymmetric septal" are just descriptions of the current state of the disease.

Home Pg Heart Graphic (1)

This page will help you begin to learn about HCM starting with some common questions. 

Our discussion groups are designed to share, inform and support individuals living with HCM. Group meetings take place on a zoom platform and are hosted by our volunteer discussion group leaders who have completed training courses conducted by the HCMA.

Each group leader has their own personal approach to assure an environment where participants can share, while also learning a growing from the collective experiences of others.

Click here or on the Online Discussion Groups image to learn more.