Symptoms of enlarged heart can lead to a real problem if you keep ignoring them. An enlarged heart (also known as cardiomegaly) is a medical condition of the heart that often results from the accumulation of fluid in the sac surrounding the heart, leading to an increase in the overall size of the heart.
Most times, this can be associated with the effusion of the serous membrane responsible for the contraction of the heart. Many symptoms of enlarged heart usually point to other critical health conditions.
Cardiomegaly itself is not a disease but often an indication of a more delicate medical condition which can pose serious health challenges. Sometimes, the symptoms of enlarged heart can improve, requiring special medical treatment depending on the cause.
The fastest way to detect a cardiomegaly is usually through a radiograph, although there are many physical signs that can also point to its development in the body. It can equally result from several other factors but some series of tests might need to be performed to determine the exact cause.
It is recommended to contact with your doctor once you notice any sign that is connected with this condition.
This article aims to explain:
- What is enlarged heart (cardiomegaly)
- Special cases of enlarged heart
- Causes of enlarged heart
- Symptoms of enlarged heart
- Prevention tips
- Recommendations and conclusions
Special cases of symptoms of enlarged heart:
Some cases of the enlarged heart usually disappear with time; however, they are also chronic ones which must be treated at the first sign. The extent of seriousness of any case of cardiomegaly usually depends on its cause, which is often connected stress, infection or even another heart condition.
Sometimes the cause of an enlarged heart might not be obvious; such a condition is usually referred to as idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy. Cardiomyopathy itself is another condition of the heart which is usually associated with an enlarged heart. It occurs whenever there is damage to the heart muscle.
An enlarged heart can either be thin or thick.
When both chambers of the heart become stretched and slender, then we have a case of an enlarged heart known as dilated cardiomyopathy.
However, when the stretching results to thicker walls of the heart, then we have a rare case of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy which is usually inherited. When thicker, an enlarged heart tends to function better.
Causes of enlarged heart:
As earlier indicated, an enlarged heart condition can occur with the cause unknown. It is also possible for a person to have it without noticing any symptom. However, whenever a peculiar case is observed, the symptoms usually depend on the cause.
Different conditions can be responsible, ranging from external issues like stress to a long-standing heart disease. Infiltrative ailment such as the accumulation of body nutrients such as protein or iron inside the tissues of the heart can equally bring about the enlargement of the heart.
Below is a list of some of the common causes responsible for cardiomegaly:
- Coronary heart disease (associated with the veins or arteries of the heart)
- Damage from a heart attack
- Congenital heart condition (present since birth)
- Cardiomyopathy (as described earlier)
- Kidney diseas
- Consuming food rich in cholesterol leading to a high level of cholesterol in the blood stream
- Metabolic disorder (Hemochromatosis or bronze diabetes)
- Engaging in unhealthy lifestyle such as smoking and wining which introduces toxins into the body
- Thyroid disorder
- Using cocaine against medical prescription (drug abuse)
- Viral infections (e.g HIV)
- Heart valve disease
Apart from the list above (which is not exhaustive), there are other conditions that are associated with the symptoms of enlarged heart. The common ones are pulmonary hypertension, abnormal heartbeat (arrhythmias), HBP (high blood pressure), pregnancy and persistent blood diseases like sickle cell anaemia.
In fact, any condition that puts undue stress or demand on the heart can potentially lead to cardiomegaly.
It is important to note that the effect of an enlarged heart in some cases is usually temporary. A good example is during pregnancy; the heart tends to return to its original size and shape after delivery. During the pregnancy period some women face stretch marks.
Symptoms of enlarged heart:
Cardiomegaly is usually a sign or precursor for another condition. As earlier indicated, sometimes it can occur without any accompanying symptoms.
In such cases, it may be discovered during a medical examination for another condition.
The symptoms of enlarged heart might be identical to those of cardiac arrest or congestive heart failure, as a result of the loss in effective circulation of the blood.
The heart fails to pump blood properly leading to over fullness of the capillary and other blood vessels in the heart. Common symptoms of enlarged heart include:
- Frequent tiredness
- Abnormal awareness of beating of the heart (palpitation)
- Weight gain
- Water retention (edema)
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Swelling on the legs
The enlarged heart can be easily cured if you detect it early. It is important to counsel with your doctor on the off chance that you are experiencing the above mentioned symptoms of enlarged heart, to cure the enlarged heart problem as soon as possible. The above discussed diseases can also lead you to leukocytosis symptoms.
Sometimes, it is not possible to prevent an enlarged heart condition especially when it is inherited or caused by a viral infection. However, there are certain steps you can take to prevent it from arising in other conditions, or even stop it getting worse when developed. Some of these steps are mentioned below.
- Keep watch on your blood pressure. Observe any drop or increase and report to your doctor immediately.
- Engage in regular workouts and exercises to charge the heart vessels and burn up excess fat.
- Get enough sleep; at least eight hours every day. Nothing better guarantees a good heart condition than adequate sleep.
- Seek proper medications for common disease and conditions like diabetes or high cholesterol level.
- Adopt active and healthy lifestyle.
- Consume foods that enrich the heart.
- Stop or minimize the caffeine intake.
- Quit the alcohol and smoking consumption
If you are the type that wouldn’t go a day without a pipes or glass of your favorite wine or beer, then you should expect more than just an enlarged heart.
While it may not be possible to observe each one of the tips listed above, the general rule is to practice good heart health by adopting healthy lifestyles and habits. Maintaining Vitamin B1 in the body is also important to prevent signs of enlarged heart.
Limit your intake of salty foods and avoid toxic substances like alcohol and tobacco.
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Just like many other conditions, there are various treatments for cardiomegaly, such as heart transplant, surgery and using hear assisting medical devices. However, when the condition is not inherited it is usually better to prevent it all together. Thus whenever you notice the symptoms of enlarged heart, don’t hesitate to inform your doctor immediately, as delay could be very dangerous.
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