Two groups of problems can cause an enlarged heart:
- Pathological problems: related to the actual disorder of the heart muscle
- Physiological problems: Related to other problems that cause an overworked heart, such as high blood pressure or thyroid disorders
Symptoms of an enlarged heart:
In some cases, the enlargement of the heart is asymptomatic, but when there are symptoms, it means that the heart can no longer pump blood to the body, leading to a syndrome called congestive heart failure, the symptoms of which include:
- Respiratory problems
- Shortness of breath
- Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
- Accumulation of fluids
What causes the heart to enlarge?
Coronary artery disorder
When plaque or fat builds up in one or more coronary arteries of the heart, a condition called atherosclerosis narrows the arteries, disrupting oxygen supply to the energy source or nature.
High blood pressure
Pumping blood with excessive pressure on the arteries due to obesity and a sedentary lifestyle puts pressure on the heart.
Myocardial infarction of unknown cause. Heart enlargement is one of the most common types of cardiomyopathy with shortness of breath and ankle swelling. Dizziness, cramping, and chest pain are rare.
Virus-induced heart infection. A person may initially develop a viral illness followed by symptoms of congestive heart failure.
Heart valve disorder
For example, a mitral valve problem causes the blood to flow backward, forcing the heart to work with much more force than usual.
Decreased blood flow to the heart can cause heart pain (angina).
History of heart attack
A weak heart grows because it has to work harder to supply blood to the body.
The thyroid gland regulates most of the body’s metabolic functions and, if left untreated, can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, irregular heartbeat, and an enlarged heart.
High body fat is one of the risk factors for high blood pressure and leads to an enlarged heart.
lack of movement
A sedentary lifestyle without exercise is one of the risk factors for coronary heart disease and high blood pressure.
As we get older, the flexibility and elasticity of the arteries decrease. This hardening of the arteries leads to high blood pressure, which causes the heart to enlarge.
How to diagnose an enlarged heart:
There are several ways to diagnose an enlarged heart:
- Medical history: including physical examination
- Chest X-ray: Helps your doctor see the shape and size of your heart and lungs.
- Echocardiogram: The heartbeat sound is sent to a particular device that can convert the sound wave into an image. Based on this, the doctor can understand how the heart works.
- Doppler test: Detects blood flow through the heart valves and can assess the valves’ proper functioning.
- Electrocardiogram: Measures the heart’s electrical activity and can detect heart rhythms and evidence of a previous heart attack or ischemia.
Does an enlarged heart cause death?
Is heart thickening dangerous? Sometimes an enlarged heart can make your heart beat faster. Heart rhythms that are too slow for blood flow or their heart rate are too fast and can lead to fainting or, in some cases, cardiac arrest or sudden death.
With proper and timely treatment, an enlarged heart may return to normal. But in many cases, this will not be the case.
Treatment of enlarged heart:
Treatment depends on the cause, but treatment options generally include the following:
Medications to prevent the heart from enlarging
- If cardiomyopathy or another type of heart disease is to blame for your enlarged heart, your doctor may prescribe medication. These drugs include:
- Diuretics reduce sodium and water in the body, helping reduce pressure on the arteries and heart.
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors to lower blood pressure and improve heart pumping ability.
- Beta-blockers to lower blood pressure and improve heart function.
- Anticoagulants to reduce the risk of blood clots that can cause a heart attack or stroke
- Antiarrhythmic drugs for your normal heart rhythm
Who should we go to for a heart test?
The only people who can help a patient with heart failure are a doctor and a cardiologist.