Could Your Heart Enlarge And Shrink? Why?

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The first thing they teach you in anatomy class is that the size of your heart is equal to the size of your fist! And while some authors argue regarding the fact that perhaps the purpose of that is that one should fight for the things they love, tooth and nail if necessary!  

But, here is what you don't know, the size of the heart could become bigger than the size of your fist!

The size of the human heart could change due to several factors. Like blood pressure, stress, medication situation and so on. If the size of heart change to be greater than or equal to 50% of the chest, then there is a medical condition called the enlarged heart or cardiomegaly. Enlargement of the heart may involve the right, the left, or both heart ventricles and atria. This article discusses the causes, possible treatments and medication of an enlarged heart condition.

The heart is a muscle that continuously pumps blood in a constantly regular rate and rhythm to transmit oxygen and nutrient-rich blood throughout the body. An enlarged heart means that the heart has become either thicker, larger (dilated) or both.

An enlarged heart may result in difficulty maintaining optimal heart-pumping action, and thus may cause symptoms or consequences for your overall health.


The heart may temporarily become enlarged due to several factors including:

1. Stress on the body,

2. Pregnancy or,

3. Medical condition “cardiomegaly” as:

• Congenital heart (a heart problem since birth),

• Heart attack,

• Heart valve disease,

• Arrhythmia (an irregular heart rhythm),

• High blood pressure,

• Cardiomyopathy (disease of the heart muscle) and others.

On rare occasions, the enlarged heart does not cause any symptoms. Persons with such symptoms must visit the doctor as soon as possible and doing a chest x-ray because this situation would be easily treated if detected early. However, the common symptoms of cardiomegaly include:

• Shortness of breath

• Fatigue or tiredness,

• Edema,

• Leg swelling.

• Could include chest pain.


According to the condition or medical situation causing the enlarged heart, the treatment may differ.

It could involve using medication or medical procedures “surgery” to correct the cause of the condition upon the case of the patient as follow:

1. The medication may include diuretics, ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, anticoagulants (blood thinners) or anti-arrhythmic. The prescribed medication could: reduce the fluid in the body to decrease the strain on the heart, while others used to reduce the possibility of heart attacks. In most cases, persons with an enlarged heart might need a combination of medications.

2. Following the medication and if the patient did not get a better condition, then medical procedures or surgery may be needed. Part of these may include the insertion of a pacemaker, heart valve surgery coronary bypass surgery, left ventricular assist device and heart transplant.

This makes one wonder, could this mean that your heart can shrink?

According to the American Heart Association & Live Science.com, your heart shrinks about 0.3 grams every year! 

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University analyzed MRIs (magnetic resonance images) of the structure and pumping function of the hearts of 5,004 men and women between the ages of 45 and 84 to look for minute changes. The patients were of various ethnic backgrounds and had no existing symptoms of heart disease.


They also found that for each year that people age, the time it takes for the heart muscles to squeeze and relax grows longer, by 2 to 5 percent. The actual amount of blood pumped out of the heart falls by about 9 milliliters per year, the researchers said.

In the end, the enlarged heart is a condition that would have a higher percentage of treatment if discovered early. Medication and treatment would differ according to the cause of the condition. Medication, medical procedures or surgery besides changing lifestyle would-be doctor’s recommendation to lower blood pressure, prevent blood clots, reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke and increase the strength and efficiency of heart contraction.

If you feel concerned or you suspect that someone you love has this condition get them checked by booking an appointment now. Click here.


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