An enlarged heart or cardiomegaly is not a disease but a symptom of various conditions and is treatable by addressing the underlying issue. Enlargement occurs when the heart chambers become dilated or the walls thicken abnormally. A slightly bigger-than-average heart can still function normally, but if cardiomegaly progresses, the heart's ability to pump blood declines. Most often, doctors discover cardiomegaly through routine chest x-rays.


1. Symptoms of an Enlarged Heart

In its early and moderate stages, an enlarged heart is often asymptomatic, meaning it does not cause noticeable symptoms. Once it becomes difficult for the organ to pump blood, signs of congestive heart failure usually emerge. These may include:

  • Intense heart palpitations (episodes of irregular heartbeat that come and go)
  • Shortness of breath, especially during physical activity
  • Chest pain
  • Leg swelling (edema)
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Increased abdominal size due to edema or fat accumulation
  • Fainting spells or extreme dizziness

Shortness of breath may be so severe it feels similar to an asthma attack, and chest pain often worsens when accompanied by breathing difficulties.


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