An enlarged heart, also known as cardiomegaly, refers to the abnormal enlargement of the heart due to various causes which is stressing the heart. It is not heart disease but a heart condition. The doctor will need to find out what is causing this condition. One of the major causes is high blood pressure (hypertension) and various coronary artery conditions. What makes this medical condition a serious one is that once the heart is stretched, its capacity to pump blood gets severely compromised and this leads to what is known as congestive heart failure.
There are various ways in which the heart enlarges. One of the causes of enlargement is response to heart muscle damage. In such a case, the heart will continue to function normally and pump blood, but beyond a certain point the function of the heart will be severely compromised and will not be able to do its job well.
What is known as dilated cardiomegaly is the most common type of this condition. Here the walls of both the left and the right heart chambers become thin and stretched, leading to a over stretched heart. Blockages that can occur in the heart’s blood channels and high blood pressure are some additional causes. Also, viral infection, kidney disease, pregnancy and HIV infection are some other possible causes.
There are various manifestations of this deadly condition. In some cases an enlarged heart does not exhibit any symptoms. However, some cases have symptoms such as shortness of breath, weight gain, fatigue, increased abdominal girth, fatigue, abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia) palpitations or skipped heartbeats, are common red lights signaling the development, of this condition. When the condition is not identified early enough and where there is lack of effective medication, this condition can easily become a death a sentence.
Low sodium diet help
Cardiomegaly is often a lifetime condition wherein patients need to rely on lifelong medications. Patients can also find help when following a low sodium diet. Sodium is one of the elements that are required by the human body in very small amounts. This element is crucial for controlling blood volume and blood pressure. A diet which is low sodium (fewer than 2 grams) of sodium each day or lower; is a great help for the cardiomegaly condition as well as other critical-organs, related medical conditions such as high blood pressure and kidney disease. This diet also helps with is the prevention of edema (the accumulation of fluid or swelling in the feet, ankles, lower legs or the abdomen). Lower levels of sodium in the blood stream ensures that there is no overload which triggers hypertension and swelling. Not only do lower levels of sodium diminish chances of heart failure, a low sodium diet enables heart medications to be more effective.
An enlarged heart condition is better treated when detected early. By finding and correcting the cause it could be treatable with medications, medical procedures, surgery and of course the help of a low sodium diet.