This week’s health news featured several articles that outlined the causes, symptoms, and treatment of cardiomegaly and related disorders such as mild cardiomegaly, left atrial enlargement, right atrial enlargement, left ventricular hypertrophy, and right ventricular hypertrophy.
Cardiomegaly is a condition in which the heart appears larger than normal. The heart has four chambers, including the right and left ventricles and the left and right atria. While the atria pump the blood they receive into the ventricles, the ventricles pump blood into the circulatory system. Cardiomegaly can either occur when both ventricles stretch and become thin (dilated cardiomyopathy) or when the heart walls themselves become thick (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy).
Sometimes, only one of these chambers is enlarged. Each of these is known by a specific name as indicated in the table below:
|Heart Chamber||Name given to the condition when it is enlarged|
|Right atrium||Right arterial enlargement|
|Left atrium||Left arterial enlargement|
|Right ventricle||Right ventricular hypertrophy|
|Left ventricle||Left ventricular hypertrophy|
When the condition is less serious, it is known as mild cardiomegaly.
The following articles provide more information on these conditions:
Mild cardiomegaly refers to a less severe form of cardiomegaly, which is an enlargement of the heart. The heart is responsible for pumping blood throughout the circulatory system to ensure that all tissues and organs of the body are adequately supplied with oxygenated blood. Cardiomegaly is a condition where the heart becomes larger or hypertrophied due to being overworked.
General hypertrophy: The heart is a muscle, and much like other muscles of the body, working harder makes them grow in size to compensate for the increased demand. This comes in the form of the heart pumping more frequently or with increased force. Having high blood pressure will result in the heart having to do more work to circulate blood throughout the body, causing cardiac muscles to hypertrophy or get bigger.
Left ventricular hypertrophy: A form of mild cardiomegaly that affects only one chamber of the heart, the left ventricle. Normally, the left ventricle does the majority of blood pumping in healthy individuals. This makes most heart valve problems affect this chamber more harshly. Continue reading…
Left atrial enlargement refers the enlargement of the left atrium and can be the result of many conditions, either congenital or acquired. The left atrium is situated in a way where it receives oxygenated blood sent from the lungs to be pumped into the left ventricle, passing the mitral valve, which is then pumped through them to the rest of the body passing the aortic valve.
The heart is comprised of four chambers: the right and left atria and the right and left ventricles. All of these chambers work in concert to pump blood into the lungs to become oxygenated and back out to the circulatory system. This is a vital process to ensure that all organs and tissue of your body is provided the necessary oxygen and nutrients needed to perform optimally.
Left atrial enlargement can be mild, moderate, or severe depending on the severity of the underlying condition. The following are some of the most common congenital and acquired causes of left atrial enlargement. Continue reading…
Right atrial enlargement occurs when the heart’s right atrium has increased in size. It usually signals a serious health condition. Here, we look at the causes, symptoms, and treatment options.
The heart is made up of four chambers. Healthy heart functioning depends on proper coordination between these chambers. The chambers are called the left atrium and right atrium as well as the left ventricle and right ventricle. Heart valves transport blood from one chamber to another.
Some people experience right atrial enlargement (RAE) and begin to experience a number of symptoms, including chest pain, while others find that the right enlargement is combined with enlargement of the left atrium. Either way, it is a condition that needs to be taken seriously.
An enlarged right atrium has many complex causes. Most can be linked to other diseases and conditions. Below we outline a number of right atrial enlargement causes, but it is important not to jump to conclusions and self-diagnose. The following list is for educational purposes only. Anyone with signs of right atrial enlargement should seek medical attention for a proper assessment. Continue reading…
Left ventricular hypertrophy is a condition where the muscle wall becomes thickened (hypertrophied). The left ventricle is the strongest and most muscular chamber of the heart, as it is responsible for pumping blood into the circulatory system. If it were compromised, as is the case of left ventricular hypertrophy, it will have significant negative effects on the entire body.
The heart is comprised of four different chambers and each one has a designated area that they supply blood to. The left ventricle does a lot of the work. This can be visually appreciated, as when you look at the heart, you’ll notice that the left ventricle is noticeably bigger than the neighboring heart chambers.
Conditions that require the heart to work harder cause the cardiac tissue to thicken and enlarge to compensate for the increased workload. It is an adaptive reaction to any factor that makes the heart work harder. While this may be acceptable for a while, prolonged instances cause heart muscles to lose their elasticity. This causes the heart to lose its ability to effectively pump blood, leading to a significant reduction in blood supply throughout the body. Left ventricular hypertrophy puts you at a higher risk for a heart attack and stroke. Continue reading…
Right ventricular hypertrophy or RVH means the right side of the heart is enlarged. It can be a serious condition, so a clear understanding of the causes, symptoms, and potential treatment options is important.
When a person suffers from right ventricular hypertrophy, the right ventricle, which is the lower chamber of the heart, dilutes itself. This means that it becomes weaker. Right ventricular hypertrophy or RVH is considered a rare disease of the heart, while left ventricular hypertrophy is more common.
There are four primary right ventricular hypertrophy causes. The most common is pulmonary hypertension, which is a condition where blood pressure increases in the pulmonary artery. This can lead to a variety of symptoms, including dizziness and shortness of breath. However, it often develops slowly without any signs, so people can go many years without even realizing they have PVH. It is important to understand that it can be a life-threatening condition and that it is not the same as having regular high blood pressure. Continue reading…
The articles published this week provide a realistic view of cardiomegaly, a condition that can either be transient or chronic depending on the cause. In most cases, cardiomegaly and its related conditions are treatable, quite often by simple lifestyle changes. However, it’s advised to consult a doctor if any symptoms appear.
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