Exercise restrictions trigger psychological difficulty in active and athletic adults with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

Academic Article

Abstract

  • Objective: We examined the extent and nature of the psychological difficulty experienced by athletic adults with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), correlates of that difficulty and coping mechanisms. Methods: A survey assessed athletic history and psychological impact of exercise restrictions. LASSO penalised linear regression identified factors associated with psychological difficulty. Semistructured interviews provided deeper insight into the nature and origins of psychological difficulty. Results: 54 individuals (33% female, mean age 55.9) completed the survey. The majority were recreational athletes at the time of restriction (67%). There was a drop in athleticism after diagnosis, including time spent exercising (p=0.04) and identification as an athlete (p=0.0005). Most respondents (54%) found it stressful and/or difficult to adjust to exercise restrictions. Greater psychological morbidity was associated with history of elite or competitive athletics, athletic identity and decrease in time spent exercising. 16 individuals (44% female, mean age 52.4) were interviewed. Long-term effects included weight gain and uncertainty about exercising safely. The role of exercise in interviewees lives contracted significantly after restriction, from multiple functions (eg, social, stress relief, fitness) to solely health maintenance. Interviewees reported a unique form of social support: having family and friends participate with them in lower intensity exercise. Lack of understanding from family or friends and avoiding exercise completely were detrimental to coping. Conclusions: Athletic adults with HCM experience multifaceted, lasting difficulty adjusting to exercise recommendations. These data can guide clinicians in identifying patients at highest risk for distress and in helping to bolster coping and adaptation.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Open Heart  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 2373551
  • Author List

  • Luiten RC; Ormond K; Post L; Asif IM; Wheeler MT; Caleshu C
  • Volume

  • 3
  • Issue

  • 2