What Should You Do If You Have an Enlarged Heart?

Lifestyle changes that may improve an enlarged heart include losing excess body fat, quitting smoking, engaging in modest exercise, limiting salt in the diet and monitoring blood pressure, states Mayo Clinic. Getting eight hours of sleep per night and avoiding caffeine and alcohol are also beneficial.

Medical treatments for an enlarged heart aim to correct the cause, explains Mayo Clinic. Medications recommended to improve an enlarged heart may include diuretics, beta blockers, anti-arrhythmics, anticoagulants, angiotensin receptor blockers and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors.

Some patients with an enlarged heart require medical procedures or surgeries, notes Mayo Clinic. A pacemaker to coordinate left and right ventricle contractions helps patients with dilated cardiomyopathy, and an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator is an option for patients at high risk for serious arrythmias. Heart valve surgery or coronary bypass surgery to treat the cause of an enlarged heart are other options. Heart transplant surgery is a last option when all other treatments fail.

Symptoms of an enlarged heart sometimes include shortness of breath, swelling or abnormal heart rhythm, according to Mayo Clinic. In some cases, an enlarged heart causes no symptoms. Causes of an enlarged heart include high blood pressure, heart valve disease, pulmonary hypertension, thyroid disorders and chronic anemia. Potential complications of an enlarged heart include heart failure, cardiac arrest and blood clots.