2 deaths in one week - HCM suspected in both
2 DEATHS IN ONE WEEK: IT’S NOT GOOD TO PLAY SPORTS WITH A BIG HEART
M E D I A A D V I S O R Y
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The tragic news of Gaines Adams, 26, of the Chicago Bears and
Jeron Lewis, 21, whose sudden deaths are both suspected to be from Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), is a vital reminder that this deadly disease often goes undetected
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), 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 across the country.
HCM OFTEN GOES UNDECTED UNTIL THE FIRST SYMPTOM:
University of Southern Indiana spokesman Dan McDonnell said he wasn't aware of any preexisting medical conditions that could have contributed to Jeron's death.
"We are stunned and saddened by the news of Gaines' passing," the Bears franchise said in a statement. "Our prayers are with his family during this difficult time."
Estimated to affect one in 500 Americans, HCM can be detected and treated allowing patients to live long lives. College and professional athletes should all have comprehensive cardiac exams to ensure they have healthy hearts free from HCM. In the younger population of athletes, high school and lower simply improving pre-participation screening forms and conducting ECG on properly selected children will reduce sudden cardiac death. Adams and Lewis are in a subset of those at higher risk for sudden cardiac arrest from HCM as they were both African American males, this population represents 50% of all those who die from HCM in the athletic spectrum. HCM is not only a cause of death in athletes, it is the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in those under the age of 40.
In 1996, Lisa Salberg started the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association (HCMA) as a national resource and support center for families affected by HCM. The HCMA (www.4hcm.org) is not just a cause or hobby for Lisa. It is her life. Lisa, who has HCM, has been able to trace it in her family for at least four generations.
As co-author of HCM: For Patients, Their Families, and Interested Physicians, Lisa can provide you with exercise guidelines, resources and recommended procedures – including genetic testing – that could potentially save lives. Lisa can discuss with you:
- What is Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)? How common is HCM?
- Why do kids, young adults and athletes die suddenly from HCM? Are there warning signs parents should know about?
- What is the difference between “athlete’s heart” and HCM?
- How do you know if you have HCM - what are the symptoms and what testing should be done to determine if you have HCM?
- If HCM is not treated, will the heart get bigger? Can I develop other heart-related conditions?
- If I have HCM should I: exercise, have sex, play sports be on a special diet?
- If an immediate family member is diagnosed with HCM, should all family members be tested? Is it expensive? Is it covered by insurance?
- Are there occupations people with HCM should avoid?
- Is there a cure for HCM? Is there one in the pipeline?
- How is HCM treated medically and through lifestyle changes?
- Where can I find out more information about HCM?
To schedule an interview, contact: