An enlarged heart, also known as cardiomegaly, by itself isn’t a disease, but is usually an indicator of an underlying condition. It may develop as a temporary or permanent condition. It’s caused by several factors that exert stress to the body. These may be medical conditions such as coronary artery disease, abnormal heart rhythms, heart valve problems or weakening of the heart muscles, or pregnancy. These conditions may cause the heart to enlarge by making thicker its muscles or by dilating one of the heart chambers. By correcting the cause, enlarged heart treatment is possible.
Causes of an Enlarged Heart
Usually enlargement of the heart is caused by another underlying condition that exerts stress on the body. Despite there being many different causes, some cases of enlarged heart have no known cause.
Pregnancy is a common cause but it’s usually temporary and therefore the heart isn’t damaged permanently. Treating enlarged heart is therefore easier. Other common causes of an enlarged heart include:
Signs and Symptoms of an Enlarged Heart
Another condition in the body may cause an enlarged heart, meaning the signs and symptoms you display are connected to the cause of the megalocardia. However, since the heart is unable to properly pump blood, the symptoms may appear similar to those of congestive heart failure such as shortness of breath, swelling of legs, heart palpitations, tiredness and weight gain, particularly in your mid-section.
Some patients may never display any symptoms at all and therefore the condition could go undiagnosed. However, other symptoms may occur, depending on the cause. Therefore, it’s good to investigate further.
Treatment is mainly aimed at addressing the cause.
If a heart condition such as cardiomyopathy is the cause of your enlarged heart, your doctor may prescribe the following recommended medications:
Medical Procedures and Surgeries
If medication as an enlarged heart treatment method doesn’t work for you, medical procedures or surgery such as the following may be needed.
ICDs, which can also work as pacemakers are small devices implanted on the chest. They continuously monitor the heart’s rhythm and sendelectrical shocks to control abnormal, rapid heartbeats when required.
If atrial fibrillation is the main cause of your cardiomegaly, you may need certain procedures to restore regular rhythm or to prevent your heart from beating too fast.
1. Change Your Eating Habits
Diet is a key factor to consider in order to combat enlarged heart cases or the underlying causative factors. This means you should have more of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, healthy proteins and foods with low saturated fats in your diet.
2. Work Out
Physical activity is a really vital treatment method and should be included in your daily routine. Your doctor may recommend various work outs depending on your condition, from light aerobics such as walking to even swimming or bike riding.
3. Avoid Bad Habits
If you happen to get diagnosed with an enlarged heart, avoid or stop smoking, excessive drinking of alcohol and caffeine as all these strain your heart muscles and blood vessels. Alcohol and caffeine cause irregular beating rhythm which further strains the heart muscles.
Try to also get at least 8 hours of sleep daily. This helps regulate your heart beat and replenish your body.
4. Visit Your Doctor Frequently
Occasional visits to your doctor during your journey of recovery are important as he will keep monitoring the condition and advise accordingly. Further, he’s able to tell whether you are positively responding to the medication or you will need to look for more advanced treatment.