Cardiomegaly is not a disease, but the symptom of a problem with the heart, which causes it to become enlarged. Your heart may become enlarged during pregnancy, or due to a condition that puts stress on the heart, such as coronary artery disease, prolapse or stenosis of one of the heart valves, or problems in the electrical heart rhythm. Occasionally the cause of an enlarged heart may not be known.

The symptoms of cardiomegaly are variable. In the early stages, no symptoms will be felt. Then, as the heart continues to grow, some people will not experience any symptoms at all, while others experience shortness of breath, dizziness, an abnormal heart rate, cough, chest pain or swelling in the feet. The symptoms may be caused by the condition that causes the heart to be enlarged. For example, if your heart valves have been damaged by rheumatic heart disease, you may notice an irregular heartbeat, also called an arrhythmia. Some cardiac arrhythmias cause shortness of breath and dizziness.

High blood pressure causes the heart to work harder to pump blood through the body. When the heart needs to beat faster or harder, the muscles thicken producing cardiomyopathy or stiffening of the heart muscle, which can lead to cardiomegaly over time.

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A heart attack, infections, connective tissue disorders, congenital heart disease, certain medications, and cancer radiation can all damage heart, producing enlargement. Pulmonary hypertension or high blood pressure in the lungs can increase the heart’s workload, causing the right side to be enlarged.

Iron deficiency anemia, resulting in a lack of red blood cells, produces a domino effect. If there are fewer red blood cells to transport oxygen, the heart must work harder to pump more blood to form the lack of oxygen. Over time, untreated anemia can lead to an enlarged heart. On the other hand, too much iron, or a problem with iron metabolism can put pressure on the left side of the heart, weakening the muscles and making balancing cardiomegaly.

Thyroid disorders, both a sluggish thyroid and an overactive thyroid can cause heart problems and cardiomegaly. A rare blood disorder called amyloidosis causes amyloids to build up abnormal proteins in the heart because of it’s an enlargement.

Cardiomegaly may be asymptomatic or very serious, depending on the underlying cause or heart disease. The aim of the treatment is to control the symptoms and reduce whatever damage is caused by the factors causing enlargement of the heart. Cardiomegaly cannot be cured, and usually can not be reversed, but it can be successfully treated and the symptoms controlled.

A vicious circle – the best way to describe the interaction of blood pressure with nicotine. At the end of the cycle, in addition to numerous organ diseases, there is also a heart attack. Although the summary of the problem can be expressed very simply, the actual process is highly complex. In addition, smoking addiction can also act as an enhancer of existing blood pressure problems.

The interaction of the organs

The causes of the rise in blood pressure caused by smoking addiction are three main factors. Specifically, they would be bad enough in and of themselves, but their inevitable interaction within body mechanisms makes them even more of a threat.

Sympathetic activity: The sympathetic nervous system is that part of the autonomic nervous system that controls the regulation of blood pressure as well as metabolic and respiratory functions. Under the influence of nicotine, however, this control mechanism gets out of balance and among other things causes an increase in heart activity and resistance within the blood vessels. The result is cardiac arrhythmia and partial to complete occlusion of the vessels.

Vessel constriction: As a result of the imbalance in the sympathetic or as a direct effect of smoking addiction, the narrowing of the blood vessels forms the core aspect of nicotine-related hypertension. Responsible for the vascular closure is not only the nicotine per se. Also contained in cigarette smoke additives may favor the arterial closure. Furthermore, the circulation and pumping capacity of the heart and blood vessels are severely impaired by the harmful substances, which offers hypertension further bases for manifestation. In this context, the danger of blood thickening caused by the smoke should not be underestimated, which may lead to further blockage of the vessels.

Lack of oxygen: Since the cigarette smoke a large amount of carbon monoxide gets into the blood, with permanent nicotine consumption and the supply of organs, especially the heart, with oxygen at risk. Now O2 is of essential importance for the integrity of the organs and their functionality. A deficiency supply, therefore, brings about serious organ damage. Heart attacks and strokes are thus the worst danger when smoking, while hypertension in this area, merely ‘a precursor to the complete failure of the heart.

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The interaction of risk factors

The exact value of systolic blood pressure increase is between 7 mmHg and 10 mmHg when smoking. However, further increases may be added if smoking is associated with one of the following aspects.

  • Smoking due to stress in most cases implies that high blood pressure is already present before consumption. This results from the increased heart activity that results from stressful situations.
  • The same applies to cigarette consumption in combination with obesity. In addition, weight-related arteriosclerosis and vasoconstrictive substances meet and, together, provide even greater resistance within the blood vessels.
  • Smoking addiction in concert with alcohol can not only increase the risk of hypertension but also of cardiac arrhythmia. As nicotine constricts the vessels, alcohol temporarily expands them so that the pumping intervals of the heart become completely out of balance.

Also in connection with lack of exercise or a wrong diet. The risk of high blood pressure by smoking is greater than normal. In addition to the dysfunctional properties of nicotine here are still added to a nutrient deficiency or resilience problems that affect the activity of the heart and organs. Already existing dysfunctions of the organs, such as those caused by unhealthy foods or too little exercise, are further expanded by smoking cigarettes.

If a clot clogs a vessel in the brain, it often has serious consequences for the patient. But the risks for a stroke can be influenced. What role do blood pressure, diet and exercise play? Sport can positively influence risk factors for stroke, for example, prevent high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes.

It’s raining. Instead of the Alps in the Upper Bavarian Aschau all around today, only cloud mountains can be seen. No weather for a walk. Therese Schmid (66) is still on the way. “It can not always be the sun,” she says. Twice a week, she and her husband travel the distance from their home to the school. Not to learn, but because they are taking part in a study.

“Pressure down, activity up!” is the name of the prevention project in which older citizens from the village accompany children on their way to school. “Above all, we are interested in whether something can be done to combat high blood pressure – the most important risk factor for cardiovascular diseases such as stroke,” says the prevention researcher. Birgit Böhm from the Technical University of Munich, who supervises the project.

The lifestyle plays an important role

Stroke is one of the biggest threats to health in Germany. Every year, it affects around 270,000 people. The circulatory disorder of the brain usually occurs when a vessel in the head is narrowed or closed. Rarer is a brain hemorrhage behind it. For those affected, the consequences are often dramatic. No other event is responsible for so many cases of disability. The acute treatment of stroke has made progress in recent years. Even more important is prevention.

“The studies clearly show that many risk factors can be well influenced by the individual lifestyle,” says Professor Bernhard Krämer, CEO of the German Society for Hypertension and Prevention. Which factors are, researchers examined the data from more than 13 000 stroke patients from 32 countries. The result of this so-called interstroke analysis: Nine out of ten attacks are directly or indirectly related to the lifestyle. Most would be avoidable.

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Prevention clarifies the risk factors of a stroke

Number one in the risk ranking is hypertension. The affected person is not always aware of this. Expert Krämer explains to patients that hypertension can damage the blood vessels throughout the body – including those in the brain. However, if you go against him, the stroke risk drops. “Ideally, patients with exercise, weight reduction, and a low-salt diet can bring about a significant improvement,” says Krämer. However, antihypertensive drugs are also often included.

When developing a stroke, various risk factors are closely linked. Lack of exercise, for example, also contributes to obesity. Both, in turn, promote diabetes and bad lipid levels – further risk factors for an attack. These connections are also in the Aschauer prevention project. Scientist Böhm works closely with a local pharmacy. “We advise people who have cardiovascular diseases here every day, so a healthy lifestyle and preventive care are very important to us,” says pharmacist Claudia Zangerl.

Together with Böhm, she organized two action days around the topic of cardiovascular health. Most of the study participants were found. “The willingness to talk about one’s own health is very high in the pharmacy, which is why prevention is in good hands there,” explains Böhm. Four times over the course of one and a half years, study participants are examined and their blood pressure is measured. Everyone gets an activity tracker that counts every step and monitors the heart rate. At least 10,000 steps a day, the subjects should go. Whether the values can be lowered – as hoped – will be demonstrated in the coming year.

These measures reduce the risk of stroke

  • Lower your blood pressure, For experts the most important step. Good values can reduce the risk by up to 40 percent.
  • Stop smoking, Every fifth attack could be avoided if patients overcome their nicotine addiction.
  • Eat healthy and balanced, Lots of vegetables, fruits, and fish, little salt – that protects the vessels. Another tip: drink little or no alcohol
  • Move enough, This benefits the cardiovascular system. In addition, the risk of hypertension, obesity and metabolic diseases decreases.

Risk factor atrial fibrillation: Listen to the heartbeat

But not all risk factors are as effective as hypertension. For example, atrial fibrillation also increases the risk. However, this widespread cardiac arrhythmia is often not discovered. “Cardiologists often do not see such patients until they have the first stroke,” says Dr. Philipp Sommer from the Heart Center Leipzig. When atrial fibrillation, the heart gets out of rhythm, it beats rhythmically and often clearly too fast. About 15 percent of all attacks are caused by it.

“Due to the irregular pumping activity, blood clots form in the heart, which in turn can block vessels in the brain,” explains expert Sommer. For a previous diagnosis, it would be important for people over 65 to “listen to their heart” more often. Because many sufferers feel the atrial fibrillation as a somewhat irregular, faster heartbeat. “You can then feel the pulse on your wrist and have any irregularities clarified,” explains Sommer. Sphygmomanometers also sometimes help to detect rhythm problems. “If the arrhythmia

Heart valve disease can affect any of the valves in the heart. The heart valves have flaps for opening and closing with each heartbeat, allowing blood to flow through the heart of the upper and lower chambers and the rest of the body.

The heart has four valves :

  1. Tricuspid valve located between the right atrium and the right ventricle
  2. Pulmonary valve located between the right atrium and the pulmonary artery
  3. Mitral valve, which is located between the left atrium, and left ventricle
  4. Aortic valve between the left ventricle and the aorta

Blood flows from the right and left atria across the tricuspid and mitral valve, allowing the blood to flow into the right and left ventricles. These valves then close the blood flowing back into the atria. Once the heart chambers are filled with blood, they begin to contract, forcing the lung and aortic valves to open. Blood then flows into the pulmonary artery and the aorta. The pulmonary artery carries oxygenated blood from the heart to the lungs and the aorta, the body’s largest artery, is responsible for carrying oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body.

Basically, the heart valves work by making sure that blood flows in the forward direction and does not secure or leaks. If an individual has a valvular disease, the valve will not be able to do this job properly. This can be caused by regurgitation, stenosis or a combination of both.

Some individuals may experience no symptoms while other disorders such as strokes, heart attacks, and thrombosis occur when the heart valve disease is left untreated.

Valvular heart disease

Mitral valve prolapse

This can also be called floppy valve syndrome, click marbles syndrome, balloon mitral valve or Barlow syndrome. It occurs when the mitral valve does not close properly, sometimes causing blood to flow back into the left atrium.

Most people with mitral valve prolapse do not require symptoms and no treatment as a result. However, symptoms such as palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue and coughing may indicate that treatment is necessary.

The treatment includes surgery to repair or replace the mitral valve.

Bicuspid aortic veins

This happens when a person is born with an aortic valve that has two valves instead of the usual three. In very severe cases, symptoms of this type of disorder are present at birth. However, some people may know that they have decades to go without this type of disorder. The valve is usually able to work for years without causing any symptoms, so most people with premolar aortic valve disease are usually diagnosed only in adulthood. According to the Cleveland Clinic, 80 percent of people with this form of heart valve disease will be operated to repair or replace the valve, which usually happens when they are in their 30s or 40s.

Symptoms include shortness of breath during exercise, chest pain and dizziness or fainting. Most people are able to successfully repair their aortic valve with surgery.

Valvular

This occurs when a valve is unable to fully open, which means that insufficient blood is able to flow through the valve. This can affect one of the heart valves and can be caused by the heart valve thickening or stiffening.

Symptoms can include chest pain, shortness of breath, tiredness, dizziness, and fainting. Some people do not need treatment. Other people may use valvuloplasty, which uses a balloon to inflate the valve or flap replacement surgery.

Valve insufficiency

This can also be called a “leaky valve” and occurs when one of the heart valves does not close properly, causing the blood to flow backward. Symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing, tiredness, palpitations, drowsiness, and swelling of the feet and ankles.

The effects of valve failure vary from person to person. Some people need to monitor their condition. Others may need prescribed medications to prevent fluid retention while others have valve repair or replacement.

Causes Of Valvular Heart Disease

There are a number of causes of various heart valve diseases. Causes can be :

  • birth defect
  • Endocarditis inflammation of the heart tissue
  • Rheumatic fever inflammatory disease brought on after group A streptococcal infection
  • Age-related changes, such as calcification
  • Heart attack
  • coronary artery disease
  • Cardiomyopathy degenerative changes in the heart muscle
  • Syphilis is a relatively rare sexually transmitted infection
  • hypertension
  • Aortic aneurysms abnormal swelling or protrusion of the aorta
  • Atherosclerosis Arteriosclerosis
  • myxomatous degeneration weakening of the connective tissue in the mitral valve
  • Lupus a chronic autoimmune disease,

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Heart Valve Disease Symptoms

Symptoms of heart valve disorders according to the severity of the disease. Usually, the onset of symptoms indicates that the disorder is affecting blood flow. Many people with mild or moderate valvular heart disease experience no symptoms. However, symptoms can be :

  • shortness of breath
  • palpitation
  • fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • a headache
  • to cough
  • Water retention or swelling in the lower extremities and abdomen
  • Pulmonary edema or excess fluid in the lungs

How are heart valve diseases diagnosed?

If you have symptoms of heart valve disease, your doctor will start by listening to the heart using a stethoscope. He or she will listen for any heart rate abnormalities that might indicate a problem with the heart valves. Your doctor may also listen to the lungs to determine if there is fluid retention as well as check your body for signs of water retention, both symptoms of heart valve problems.

Other tests that can diagnose for valvular heart disease include :

  • Electrocardiogram is a test that shows the electrical activity of the heart. This test is used to check arrhythmia.
  • Echocardiography uses sound waves to create an image of the heart valves and chambers.
  • Cardiac catheterization is another test to diagnose valve disorders. This test uses a thin tube or catheter with a camera to take pictures of the heart and blood vessels. This can help to determine with your doctor the nature and severity of the diseased valve.
  • A chest x-ray can be ordered to take a picture of your heart. This may be your doctor if your heart is enlarged.

Magnetic resonance imaging can create a more detailed picture of the heart. This can help to confirm a diagnosis and help your doctor determine how best to treat your valve disorder.

  • A stress test can also be used to determine how the symptoms are affected by physical exertion. The information from the stress test can help your doctor determine the severity of your condition.

Treatment Options

Treatments for heart valve disorders depend on the severity of the disease and symptoms. Most doctors recommend starting with conservative treatment. This includes :

  • consistent medical supervision
  • smoking
  • a healthy diet

Medications that are usually prescribed are :

  • Beta-blocker and calcium channel blocker to help control heart rate and blood flow
  • Reduce diuretics for fluid retention
  • vasodilating drugs that open or dilate the blood vessels

Surgery may be needed if the symptoms increase in severity. This can be used to repair heart valves with patient’s own tissues or heart valve replacement with animal valves, donated valves,