Your heart is made of strong muscles to pump blood around your body. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a condition that thickens some of the heart muscles, making it harder to pump blood.

Usually, HCM affects the ventricular septum, which is located between your right and left ventricles (the lower chambers of your heart). A thicker ventricular septum takes up more space. This can affect blood flow, especially through the left ventricle.

HCM is genetic. So if one person has HCM, others in the family should also get checked. Symptoms include fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain, or an irregular heart rate. Sometimes, there are no symptoms.

HCM can be diagnosed with an echocardiogram, a test that shows an image of your heart. Other tests may also be needed. Over time, HCM can get worse, so it’s important to manage the condition.

Many people with HCM take medications to manage their symptoms. Some people need surgeries or procedures to improve blood flow through the heart.

Click through the interactive experience below to explore what a healthy heart looks like, and what it looks like when hypertrophic cardiomyopathy affects the heart.