The enlargement of heart as seen on the imaging test is called cardiomegaly. Cardiomegaly is actually not a disease but it is a sign of some other diseases. This article discusses what cardiomegaly is, its causes and how to cope up with cardiomegaly.
What is Cardiomegaly?
Cardiomegaly is the enlargement of the heart. It is usually a result of other pathological process and presents with cardiomyopathies. It can involve enlargement of left, right, both ventricles or both atria.1
Generally, the heart enlarges when the chambers of the heart become widen or the muscles get thicken. When a person has cardiomegaly, it indicates that there are some problems in the heart or there is some condition due to which the heart of the person needs to work harder to perform its function.
What are the Causes of Cardiomegaly?
The causes of cardiomegaly can include congenital or it may be developed over time. Cardiomegaly may be caused due to several reasons that may include high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, or also due to some unknown reasons. Some of the other conditions that can commonly be the cause of cardiomegaly are heart valve disease, cardiomyopathy, pulmonary hypertension, pericardial effusion, anemia, thyroid disorder, hemochromatosis, amyloidosis, etc.
It is also observed that people who have high blood pressure, obesity, past record of heart attack, family history of heart enlargement, a metabolic disorder such as thyroid disease are highly prone to have cardiomegaly. Apart from that, a person used to consuming a high amount of alcohol or excessive drug is also at high risk of developing cardiomegaly.
Symptoms of Cardiomegaly
The following are some common symptoms of cardiomegaly:
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling in leg and ankles
- Chest pain
- Pain in arms, neck, jaw and also at the back.
How to Cope-up with Cardiomegaly?
While considering the treatment and management, it is important to know how to cope-up with cardiomegaly. However, before going for the treatment of cardiomegaly, it is essential to diagnose the condition properly. There are several types of tests that you need to perform to detect cardiomegaly. Cardiologists generally advise chest X-ray, electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, stress test, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), blood tests, cardiac catheterization, and biopsy. These tests, along with clinical evaluation, it is possible to diagnose cardiomegaly.
In case you have this condition, it is very essential to take proper medication to be able to cope up with cardiomegaly. Some of the common medications that are usually advised to treat cardiomegaly are diuretics, angiotensin-converting enzyme, angiotensin receptor blockers, beta-blockers, anticoagulants, antiarrhythmics, etc.
Apart from that, it is also very essential to perform regular exercise to cope up with cardiomegaly. You can ask your doctor which type of exercise you should go for when you have cardiomegaly. It is also important to quit smoking. If you find it difficult to quit smoking, you can try some kind of nicotine replacement products or counseling and cognitive therapies that will surely help you to stop smoking. It is also essential to quit alcohol, caffeine, and drugs. Moreover, you should also try to lose weight especially if you are obese, as it can increase the risk of several heart problems. So it is always advisable to maintain body weight. The most essential thing to do to cope up with cardiomegaly is to limit certain items like salt, cholesterol, saturated as well as trans-fat in your diet.
So, in case you observe some of the symptoms of cardiomegaly that are mentioned above, you must seek medical and diagnose it properly and in case it is detected you have to take proper step to get rid of it as soon as possible. Cardiomegaly can also lead to serious complications such as heart failure, blood clots, cardiac arrest, heart murmur, etc. So, you should take cardiomegaly seriously and start the treatment at your earliest to avoid any serious complications. Now that you are aware of what cardiomegaly is, its causes, symptoms and the ways to cope with it, you can seek medical help appropriately.