Heart Disease That Can Kill Young Athletes

It's the leading cause of heart-related sudden death in people under the age of 35.

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Bob Hallinan

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It's a tragic story. A young athlete who appears to be in good health collapses and dies while competing. A previously undiagnosed heart condition is often to blame.

One of the most common conditions is hypertrophic cardiomyapathy. This is when the heart muscle becomes enlarged which makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood efficiently. It's the leading cause of heart-related sudden death in people under the age of 35.

Dr. Ashley Simmons, a cardiologist, says the condition is very common and can affect people at any age. About one in 500 people has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and it affects men and women equally. She says a recent study in the Journal of The American College of Cardiology shows the condition is often overlooked in women.