Left ventricle pumps blood to the aorta which distributes blood to all tissues in the body. The heart is a muscle and so, like other muscles, it gets bigger if it is worked hard over time. Left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) occurs when the workload on the heart is excessive and in order to cope up the muscle thickens and the heart enlarges. This is called left ventricular hypertrophy.
What Is The Cause Of Left Ventricular Hypertrophy?
Any disease or factor that causes the heart to work harder than normal to pump blood to your body can cause left ventricular hypertrophy.
Diseases that can cause your heart to work harder and can cause left ventricular hypertrophy include:
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Causes Left Ventricular Hypertrophy
Hypertension is by far the primary cause of LVH or left ventricular hypertrophy. More than 40% of people with hypertension tend to develop LVH during the course of being diagnosed with high blood pressure. What happens in hypertension is the, force of the blood against your artery wall increase with time. Then the heart has to pump blood to the aorta against a higher pressure. This increase the workload on the heart.
Blood pressure is determined by the amount of blood the heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow from your arteries. If your heart pumps in a higher pressure and your arteries are narrow the blood pressure will be high.
Aortic Valve Stenosis Can Cause Left Ventricular Hypertrophy
Aortic valve separates the left ventricle from the large blood vessel that leaves your heart (aorta). It also control the amount of blood that is released to the aorta. Aortic valve stenosis occurs when the opening of the aortic valve is narrowed and the left ventricle has to work harder to pump blood from a narrowed aortic valve.
Aortic stenosis seen commonly in older people because of scarring and calcium building up in the valve with age. Usually age-related aortic valve stenosis begins after 60 years.
Most common cause of aortic stenosis in younger people is a birth defect in the heart valves (congenital disease). It’s called bicuspid valve. Where instead of the usual three cusps in the aortic valve only two cusps are present.
Another Cause of Left Ventricular Hypertrophy is Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)
It’s a common disease that affects people of any age and it’s a genetic disease. It affects men and women equally. HCM occurs when the heart muscle cells enlarge and the walls thickens (mainly left ventricle). The thickening of the left ventricle muscles wall, blocks the blood filling and blood pumping out of the left ventricle which causes increase workload on the heart. If this happens it’s called hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy.
HCM can affect the valve that divides the left aorta form left ventricle (mitral valve) causing blood to leak backward. The entire left ventricle may thicken but there will be no obstruction to the blood outflow. This is called non-obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
Athletic Hypertrophy Causes Left Ventricular Hypertrophy
Prolong exercises and strength training can cause heart to thicken the left ventricle muscle to adapt the increase workload. It’s unclear if this can lead to any heart disease.
Risk Factors for Left Ventricular Hypertrophy
The following factors can increase the risk of getting left ventricular hypertrophy:
- Age – Left ventricular hypertrophy is more common in older people.
- Overweight– Being overweight increases your risk of high blood pressure and left ventricular hypertrophy.
- Family History – if you have a family history of HCM
- Diabetes– LVH has been found to associated with diabetes mellitus
- Race – African-Americans are at higher risk of LVH than white people with similar blood pressure measurements.
- Sex – Women with hypertension are at higher risk of left ventricular hypertrophy than are men with similar blood pressure measurements.
Left ventricular hypertrophy occurs when the workload on left ventricle increases and in order to keep up with the regular blood pumping the left ventricle muscle thickens and the left ventricle enlarges. This makes the left ventricle weak and stiff which prevents the blood flow. The causes are hypertension which is the common cause, aortic valve stenosis, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and athletic hypertrophy. Risk factors are older age, overweight, family history, diabetes, African-American race and women with hypertension.