ANN ARBOR, Mich. - While the causes of death of three runners in the Detroit Free Press/Flagstar half-marathon are unknown, an inherited heart condition makes the top of the list for possible causes.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a genetic disease which results in a thickening of the heart muscle, is the leading cause of sudden death in children and young adults. It accounts for 40 percent of all deaths on athletic playing fields.
Sharlene Day, M.D.,
is director of the HCM clinic at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center, one of only seven HCM centers in the U.S. and is available to talk to media about HCM and why kids, young adults and children die suddenly from it.
What is HCM? It's estimated to affect one in 500 Americans and can be detected and treated allowing patients to live long lives. The onset and severity varies.
Some people will experience symptoms and others never may see signs of the disease. Typical symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness or lightheadedness, fainting, palpitations or the first symptom may be cardiac arrest or sudden cardiac death.
Want can be done about it? Because there is no cure for HCM, treatment is aimed at alleviating symptoms and preventing complications.
Simply improving pre-participation screening forms and conducting electrocardiograms on properly selected children and adults will reduce sudden cardiac deaths.
U-M Cardiovascular Center.
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association