Cardiomegaly-Enlargement of the heart


The term cardiomegaly may sound new to your ears. In this article, we will tackle not only its meaning, but its symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment as well.

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Cardiomegaly refers to the enlargement of the heart and is an important indication that the human body is suffering and needs medical attention. Actually, it is a warning sign of another health problem. Anyone can develop an enlarged heart for sometime due to certain bodily stresses, though it often arises due to particular medical conditions.

What causes the heart to enlarge?

An enlarged heart impedes proper heart functioning, which involves the transportation of blood and oxygen to vital body organs, and starts to thicken and solidify. One cause of cardiomegaly is high blood pressure. Another is severe anemia which occurs when there is inadequate amount of red blood cells which are responsible in bringing the oxygen to different tissues leading to irregular heartbeat. Moreover, pulmonary hypertension is responsible for enlargement of the right portion of the heart as the organ works hard in pumping the blood going to the heart as well as lungs. Other causes of enlarged heart include stress, coronary artery disorder and pregnancy.

Symptoms to check for enlargement of the heart

When the heart is enlarged, you will experience some signs and symptoms. These include inflammation of the ankles and feet, irregular heartbeat, breathing problems, fatigue, tender chest, edema, pulse changes, coughs and thickening of heart muscles. If you have experienced any of these symptoms, you should seek medical help to prevent the condition from aggravating. If you fail to do so, it may result to more serious problems such as heart murmurs, hypertension, congenital heart disease and worse, cardiac arrest.

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How is Cardiomegaly Diagnosed?

You will be subjected to several diagnostic tests to have a clear view of the condition of your heart. These tests may include ECG test (Echocardiogram test), CT scan and X-ray examination which helps determine the extent of your heart enlargement so you can start appropriate treatment regimens. In addition, your medial history will also be considered to determine the other possible causes for your heart enlargement.

What are the available treatments for Cardiomegaly or Enlarged heart?

The treatment for enlarged heart highly depends on the underlying cause and progression of the heart enlargement. Treatment methods most likely involve taking prescription medicines to take out excess sodium and water from your body which cause edema. Moreover, Digoxin is also recommended which effectively reduces high blood pressure and slows down heart rate. If prescription medicines do not work, other methods might be used such as introducing a pace maker into the heart usually done by a cardiologist. Surgical treatment is another option to treat an enlarged heart and choosing the qualified specialists is very important. If surgical and non-surgical treatments still fail, then complete heart transplant is the final resort.

Health experts are stressing the need for living a healthy lifestyle through employing a healthy and balanced diet as well as sticking to regular exercise and avoiding harmful vices such as cigarette smoking, heavy drinking, eating foods which are high in fats and cholesterols to prevent cardiomegaly. Finally, regular medical checkups help a lot in the early detection of enlargement of the heart.

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