The clinical expression of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HC) is undoubtedly influenced by modifying genetic and environmental factors. Lifestyle practices such as tobacco and alcohol use, poor nutritional intake, and physical inactivity are strongly associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes and increased mortality in the general population. Before addressing the direct effect of such modifiable factors on the natural history of HC, it is critical to define their prevalence in this population. A voluntary survey, drawing questions in part from the 2007 to 2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), was posted on the HC Association website and administered to patients with HC at the University of Michigan. Propensity score matching to NHANES participants was used. Dichotomous and continuous health behaviors were analyzed using logistic and linear regression, respectively, and adjusted for body mass index and propensity score quintile. Compared to the matched NHANES participants, the patients with HC reported significantly less alcohol and tobacco use but also less time engaged in physical activity at work and for leisure. Time spent participating in vigorous or moderate activity was a strong predictor of self-reported exercise capacity. The body mass index was greater in the HC cohort than in the NHANES cohort. Exercise restrictions negatively affected emotional well-being in most surveyed subjects. In conclusion, patients with HC are less active than the general United States population. The well-established relation of inactivity, obesity, and cardiovascular mortality might be exaggerated in patients with HC. More data are needed on exercise in those with HC to strike a balance between acute risks and the long-term health benefits of exercise.
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