Enlarged Heart: All You Need to Know

Posted on September 26, 2018

X-ray

Cardiology is the specialized study of internal medicine that deals with conditions of the heart and blood vessels, such as congenital heart defects, coronary artery disease, heart failure, enlarged heart, electrophysiology, and more. Damage to the heart muscle from high blood pressure, thyroid disease, HIV, viral infections, and coronary artery disease may lead to an enlarged heart. The heart can’t pump effectively, and congestive heart failure can set in. Once a person is diagnosed with an enlarged heart, they need to be treated with medications for the rest of their life. 

Types

The main type of enlarged heart is called dilated cardiomyopathy. The walls of the heart become thinner and stretch, enlarging the size of the heart. Once the heart is enlarged, it may still pump normally, but the ability to maintain normal functions will decline as the condition progresses. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the thickening of the left ventricle. Although a thickened heart wall isn't a normal condition, the heart will pump more efficiently when it’s thick rather than thin.

Causes

Coronary artery disease where blockages occur in the arteries, and high blood pressure, are the most common causes of an enlarged heart. Other causes are viral infections of the heart, abnormal heart valves, kidney disease with dialysis, alcohol or cocaine abuse, HIV, and genetic conditions. Idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy is an enlarged heart with no discernible causes.

Symptoms

You might go for a long time with no symptoms that would cause you to seek cardiology treatment. Certain symptoms such as leg swelling or feeling tired could be justified in your mind as something other than your heart. If you develop shortness of breath, midsection weight gain, or heart palpitations, your heart might not be pumping blood well enough. You shouldn’t take chances. Make an appointment with the cardiology specialists at Peconic Bay Medical Center to have tests run to find out the cause of your symptoms.

Doctor

Diagnosis

If you have a chest X-Ray for another condition, the enlarged heart will be discovered. If you visit your family doctor to talk about the symptoms you are experiencing, he or she may send you for initial tests that could determine if you have an enlarged heart. If the tests show you have an enlarged heart, your family doctor should recommend an advanced cardiology doctor that will take over care for the well-being of your heart. The specialist may order an ultrasound, MRI, or CT scan of your heart to give a diagnosis.

Treatment

If you have a blockage in an artery, you might need a bypass or a stent to open the artery to improve blood flow. A damaged heart valve can be repaired or replaced. If you have high blood pressure, controlling the pressure can prevent further damage and make your heart work better. Quitting alcohol or drug use can improve symptoms and increase your heart’s function. If you are diagnosed with congestive heart failure, treatments will be used to lessen symptoms. Diuretics will cause you to lose more fluid, easing the swelling in your legs and alleviating the extra stress on your heart so it doesn’t have to work so hard.

If you have an enlarged heart or other heart condition, you’ll be in good hands with the cardiology specialists in Suffolk County, NY, at Peconic Bay Medical Center who offer noninterventional cardiology services to diagnose and monitor heart diseases. Heart patients receive the latest technological resources to improve their heart health. For more information, visit https://www.pbmchealth.org.

Comments