Cardiomegaly is an enlarged heart. Cardiomegaly is not a condition itself but an abnormal physical finding resulting from a condition or disease.
Symptoms of Cardiomegaly
There are often no signs or symptoms related to cardiomegaly in the early stages. More advanced cases of cardiomegaly can cause:
- Abnormal heartbeat
- Swelling (also called edema)
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Find a Doctor affiliated with the St. Joseph's Heart & Vascular Institute if you have any of these symptoms of cardiomegaly in Stockton and the surrounding areas. One of our radiologists can diagnose an enlarged heart with a chest X-ray. Additional heart tests can help us identify the underlying cause and determine your personalized treatment plan.
If your doctor has told you that you are at risk for cardiomegaly, we invite you to partner with our experts to improve your heart health.
What Causes an Enlarged Heart?
Cardiomegaly can be congenital (you are born with it) or caused by heart disease. Heart disease forces your heart to work harder than it should. The harder work causes the heart muscle to grow in size in order to compensate for the extra workload. Eventually, the heart weakens and starts to fail.
Some of the most common causes of cardiomyopathy include:
- Heart valve disease
- Certain types of medications or radiation treatments for cancer, although less common
- Damage from a heart attack
- Toxin exposure
- Abnormal heartbeat (arrhythmia)
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
Treating Cardiomegaly in the Stockton Region
What our highly trained professionals recommend for treating and preventing cardiomegaly depends on the cause of the condition. In some cases, treating an underlying heart condition, such as an abnormal heart rhythm or high blood pressure, can help prevent further heart damage.
Not all cases of cardiomegaly are preventable. But, the best line of defense to prevent cardiomegaly is to practice a heart-healthy lifestyle and see your doctor at Dignity Health regularly for physical checkups. This way, you and your doctor can tackle known risk factors and prevent cardiomegaly all together.
Tell your doctor if you have undergone past chemotherapy, such as with anthracyclines, or radiation therapy, so they can help you watch for signs and symptoms of cardiomegaly.
Using the latest methods and technologies, our treatments for cardiomegaly may include:
- Medications to manage heart disease
- Surgery, such as heart valve surgery or bypass surgery, to restore normal blood flow and heart function
- Heart transplant, if your heart is working so poorly that it is not able to keep you alive
- Adapting a healthy lifestyle, including a heart-healthy diet, exercise, and stress management
- Pacemakers or implantable cardio-converters, to monitor and adjust the heartbeat if you have a serious arrhythmia
As you go through treatment, consider joining one of our support groups to meet other patients living with heart disease in your area.
St. Joseph's Heart & Vascular Institute provides cardiomegaly care in Stockton, CA and surrounding areas as part of our cardiovascular services.