An enlarged heart is not a disease, but rather a symptom of another condition.

The term cardiomegaly is most often associated with the increased size of the heart muscle, which is visible on a chest X-ray.

Other tests are then needed to diagnose the condition causing the enlarged heart.

A person’s heart may enlarge temporarily when the body is subjected to stress, such as pregnancy, or due to another medical condition, such as weakening of the heart muscle, ischemic heart disease, heart valve problems, or heart rhythm disorders .

An enlarged heart is treatable by correcting the cause. Treatment consists of medication, medical procedures, or surgery.

What are the symptoms?

In some people, the increased size of the heart does not cause clinical signs.

But if the sufferer develops symptoms, they most often consist of:

• Shortness of breath;
• Heart rhythm disorders /arrhythmia/;
• Swelling /edema/;

An enlarged heart muscle is easier to treat if it is detected early, so if a person suspects that their heart is enlarged, it is necessary to consult their GP.

Seek emergency medical help if you have any of the following signs or symptoms, which are most typical of a heart attack:

• Chest pain;
• Severe shortness of breath;
• Fainting;

What are the causes?

The heart muscle can increase in size due to the presence of diseases that impair its pumping function or damage its muscle tissue.

Sometimes the heart enlarges and weakens for unknown reasons, then the condition cardiomegaly is referred to as idiopathic.

Congenital heart malformations, damage from a heart attack, or an abnormal heart rhythm can cause the heart muscle to swell.

Other clinical conditions that are associated with an enlarged heart are:

• Hypertension – high blood pressure can cause the left heart chamber to enlarge, which subsequently causes the entire heart muscle to weaken. Hypertension can also cause an increase in the size of the two heart atria.

Heart valve disease – four valves in the heart keep blood flowing in the right direction. If the valves are damaged by clinically significant conditions such as rheumatism, heart disease, infections (infective endocarditis), abnormal connective tissue changes, side effects of certain medications, or radiation therapy to treat cancer, they can also become cause of increased heart size.

body parts.

Pulmonary hypertension – as a result of the high pressure in the pulmonary artery, the amount of blood reaching the lungs is not sufficient and the heart, in an attempt to compensate for the resulting imbalance, increases its size on the right side.< /p>

Fluid around the heart /pericardial effusion/ – accumulation of fluid in the tissue envelope of the heart muscle can cause visible enlargement of the organ on X-ray.

• A reduced number of erythrocytes or anemia is a condition in which there are not enough healthy red blood cells to provide enough oxygen to the body’s tissues.

Untreated chronic anemia can cause an irregular or rapid heartbeat. The heart has to pump more blood to compensate for not having enough oxygen.

Treatment of cardiomegaly

Once diagnosed, doctors recommend the following lifestyle changes:

• Quitting smoking;
• Normalizing body weight;
• Limiting the daily intake of salt, but not its complete exclusion from the daily menu. Because completely stopping the use of salt leads to dehydration.

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