Enlarged Heart – Is This A Medical Condition?

Enlarged Heart – Is This A Medical Condition?

We often come across casual terminologies like having enlarged heart. It gives an impact that heart has doubled the size, became a huge heart or what. The possibilities of imagination are endless.

To your surprise, an enlarged heart is not just a random thing. It is a medical condition, which is technically called cardiomegaly. It is a not a condition but a disease which can be checked even by an X-Ray testing.

It can be either a temporary or a chronic condition. It depends on the reason, which has caused an enlarged heart. As you already have an idea that enlarged heart itself is not a disease but a condition, which has a precursor.

In many cases, it is possible to treat the enlarged heart. But for that, one must get it diagnosed at the right time, as soon as the initial symptoms start to appear. For the natural approach, the direct reason to face enlarged heart is the dilated cardiomyopathy.

Dilated cardiomyopathy is a condition in which both ventricles become thin, and they are under a constant stretch. Also, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the main reason where heart walls become thick.Read the articles for complete details on enlarged heart syndrome.

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What causes an enlarged heart?

The first thing to strike the mind is the apparent causes of an enlarged heart. It is a problem, which is often caused by another condition. This prerequisite condition puts heart to stress and pressure. The result is damage to the heart walls, which expands it.

Now enlarged heart can be due to some causes, but most of the times, it is not even possible to track it. From some factors, stress is one thing that causes this problem. Especially in pregnant mothers, this risk is doubled.

But as already told, this can be a temporary situation, majorly. It goes away or reverts to normal when the underlying problem is treated. So the body conditions are healthy again.

What are some underlying medical conditions to cause it?

It is more likely to suffer from the enlarged heart when the body has some primary health issue. The size expansion of the heart is just a sign to tell that something isn’t going the right way.

In case you are wondering, what can cause it; here is a list of some most common factors.

  • A birth condition of being born with an enlarged heart (Congenital heart condition)
  • After a heart attack
  • Arrhythmia
  • Diseases of heart’s valves
  • Anemia
  • AIDS
  • Viral infections
  • Hypertension
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Drug abuse
  • Amyloidosis
  • Thyroid issues
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Hemochromatosis and much more

What are the visible signs of having an enlarged heart?

Many people will ask that heart is an internal organ and here we are talking about the size expansion, so how correctly we can understand that we are facing this issue. The enlarged heart is itself a symptom, which shows another disease.

There are no individual signs of having an enlarged heart. The symptoms may share similarities with congestive heart failure because it’s the same way that heart is unable to do its function, i.e., to pump the blood.

Due to this improper function, the breath shortness is an immediate effect, which hits people with enlarged hearts, the most. Fatigue is next thing that is obvious. The patient will start feeling tired all the times

It is also common to see swelling on limbs and heart palpitations. These symptoms don’t always show up in every patient. If the immune system is healthy otherwise, the chances for these signs to show are very less.

In the patients who don’t feel any visible sign, the enlarged heart problem is often left undiagnosed because there is no apparent reason to think it to be a heart problem otherwise.

RELATED: 5 Ways To Strengthen Your Heart

If the underlying cause is a medical condition on severe stage, the symptoms will show up. Never leave any doubt when it comes to the heart. You can ask more details from your local health service provider.

Are there any distinct risk factors for cardiomegaly?

Enlarged heart, medically called cardiomegaly has some risk factors. To tell the readers, here is a brief description of each one of them.

  • Congenital heart disease

Probably the foremost in the list is congenital heart disease. It is a natural condition, which is caused by genetic predisposition. In simpler words, it is when you are born with an irregular heart structure.

Or it could be minor at the start but becomes big after some time.

  • Connective tissue diseases

It’s not just one but some similar conditions, which are of protein, based tissues. As you know that protein is the building block of organs so that explains why it can affect the structure of the heart.

In rare conditions, some connective tissue’s linked diseases can also cause a size expansion in heart’s size. One of such example is a Marfan syndrome.

  • Having a high amount of iron in the body

This would not be known to the majority of people but having an extremely high amount of iron in your body can also cause problems. This condition is called hemochromatosis. This additional quantity of iron accumulates in the organs.

One such organ to get affected by it is the heart. Storing the extra things when there isn’t a capacity of it causes nothing but a size enlargement in heart size.

  • Role of familys genetic history

Genes are what play a role in almost all medical conditions. If you have anyone in the family, especially the mother who suffered from heart enlargement, you are at a higher risk of getting the same. It only needs a triggering factor, which can be any.

  • The condition after a heart attack

A heart attack is one thing, which temporarily suspends the working of the heart. That is why that a myocardial infarction has the highest risk of causing an enlarged heart.

  • Peripheral Effusion

It is another condition of the heart in which a fluid gathers around the heart. It makes it nearly impossible for the heart to pump the blood. So the patient is more likely to suffer from a heart expansion in size.

  • Diseases of heart valves

Valves are the controlling agents of blood flow inside and outside the heart chambers. If any of these is under a disease attack, it is more likely to cause an extra load on the heart to carry out the blood pump.

In the end, it causes the condition of the enlarged heart.

  • Thyroid problems

The thyroid is the hormone, which governs essential functions of the body. If it is hyperactive or inactive, either way, it will contribute to enlarged heart symptoms.

  • Rare diseases

Some conditions are abnormal to occur, i.e., amyloidosis. They are also an underlying disease to cause an enlarged heart.

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What are the complications of enlarged heart for future?

If not diagnosed, or not treated, an enlarged heart may keep on developing something that is very damaging to the body. It can be anything, and there are some problems that a patient can get.

Some of them are as follows.

  • Heart failure
  • Blood clot formation
  • Heart murmuring
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Death

RELATED: Congestive Heart Failure: Who Is At Risk?

How would a doctor diagnose the enlarged heart?

In case you are wondering, the medical science has developed so much that there are many tests to confirm certain medical conditions. Though it is not possible to see the heart for the complications, the following types of tests are beneficial.

These diagnostic tests are as follows.

  • X-Ray of the chest
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Stress test
  • Cardiac computerized tomography (CT Scan)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Blood tests (for anemia)
  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Biopsy

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What are the treatment options available for the enlarged heart?

Luckily, there are so many things that your doctor can do. But first; it is necessary to know the cause of the problem so that he can give you an appropriate treatment for it. Here are a few methods that are used by the doctors for treating an enlarged heart.

  • Regulation of heartbeat by medical devices

In some specific conditions where your heartbeat is also affected from the enlarged heart, there are specific medical devices such as a pacemaker which is fitted inside the heart to fix it. It helps to maintain the regular pumping of the heart.

  • Heart valve surgery

In case of valve-related diseases, the doctor is most likely to suggest you a heart surgery. This type of surgeries is called corrective surgeries, in such operations, doctor repair or replaces the affected nonfunctional valve.

  • Coronary bypass surgery

If the background reason is a coronary artery disease, the doctor will recommend going for coronary bypass operation to correct it. It has a high success rate.

  • Heart transplant

In case everything fails, the last solution is to go for a heart transplant. Though not very common it is usually the only treatment option which works. It requires a donor with compatibility. A heart transplant is one of the most complicated surgeries of the world.

  • Heart valve surgery

In case of valve-related diseases, the doctor is most likely to suggest you a heart surgery. This type of surgeries is called corrective surgeries, in such operations, doctor repair or replaces the affected nonfunctional valve.

  • Coronary bypass surgery

If the background reason is a coronary artery disease, the doctor will recommend going for coronary bypass operation to correct it. It has a high success rate.

  • Heart transplant

In case everything fails, the last solution is to go for a heart transplant. Though not very common it is usually the only treatment option which works. It requires a donor with compatibility. A heart transplant is one of the most complicated surgeries of the world.

Sources

  • https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/guide/enlarged-heart-causes-symptoms-types#1
  • https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/heart-disease-enlarged-heart
  • https://www.heart-valve-surgery.com/enlarged-heart-what-is-it.php
  • http://www.foxnews.com/health/2016/12/27/what-is-enlarged-heart.html
  • https://medlineplus.gov/cardiomyopathy.html
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The author is a Medical Microbiologist and healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. She covers all content on health and wellness including weight loss, nutrition, and general health. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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