Topic: My boyfriend has an enlarged heart?
June 16, 2019 / By Jedidah Question:
hi, my boyfriend almost fainted at work yesterday and today i took him to the doctor. the chest x ray showed that his heart is enlarged. the doctor told him that his heart is over the size of half his chest. he told us that he cant eat salt anymore either, he cant smoke or drink anymore. my boyfriend is only 35 but he has been drinking and smoking for 20 years now. he also has fluid in his legs and feet. i just wanted to know if anyone else knows someone with these symptoms. unfortunately, the doctor thinks its congestive heart failure. we have 11 month old daughter. we are waiting for the doctor to schedule an echocardiogram. any answer would be greatly appreciated. thank you.
Fedelma | 8 days ago
I'm glad you are looking for more information and have asked some of these questions here. Yes, I know several people with these symptoms. There is an active on-line community, which I will provide you some links to at the end of this message. (My wife was diagnosed with heart failure about 9 months ago.)
But first, I'll give you a quick primer. You should know that heart failure is caused by cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease). This can be ischemic (damaged associated with coronary artery disease), familial (inherited), alcohol-induced, caused by a virus (often called idiopathic because the exact cause isn't known), or perhaps one or two other causes that might apply to your boyfriend.
If my wife and your boyfriend had been diagnosed with heart failure 15-20 years ago, it would have been almost a death sentence. As it is now, with many new medications and treatments, my wife has a good chance of outliving me, and it is certainly possible that your boyfriend will recover a lot of function. It's just tough to say at this point. The rule of thumb is that 1/3 improve, 1/3 stay the same, and 1/3 go downhill, needing more invasive help such as pacemakers, ventricular assist devices and even heart transplants. (Transplants have become much more reliable and available, so there is definitely hope there, if all else fails.)
Heart failure can strike at just about any age. I know it is difficult to wait for the echocardiogram, but it will help shed some light on the story. If your boyfriend's ejection fraction is relatively low (say below 50%), they would consider him to be in heart failure. The fact that he is already retaining fluids and his heart is dilated probably indicates that it is fairly far along, but you *don't* know what has caused it. It may have nothing to do with drinking or smoking. It may be caused by a virus or it may be hereditary. You may never know. The big question is, "where to from here?"
If the ejection fraciton (EF) is low, they will likely want to perform an angiogram to check the condition of his coronary arteries. The procedure is very safe, but it is invasive (a catheter is usually inserted into the femoral artery in the groin area and used to placed sensors and dyes directly into the left ventricle of the heart). He should recover from this simple procedure very quickly.
Once the condition of his coronary arteries (via angiogram) and heart muscles (via echocardiogram and angiogram) are well understood, the doctors can form a more comprehensive treatment plan.
But regardless of the exact condition of his heart or the cause of the problem, there are some core medications and lifestyle changes that will be required.
When it comes to medications, ACE inhibitors such as Lisinopril will be used to dilate the arteries, thus making it easier for the heart to pump. Beta Blockers, such as Coreg, effectively govern the heart's rate, keeping adrenolin (epinephrine) from driving the heart too fast and therefore damaging itself. These two types of medications are a real miracle for those in heart failure. Your boyfriend will probably be taking them for the rest of his life. A diuretic will also be prescribed to help him dry out. (He'll probably be urinating a lot for the first few days.) If his cholesterol is elevated, they may prescribe a statin to get that under control.
When it comes to lifestyle changes, many of them are obvious and many are not so obvious. Yes, he needs to quit smoking. And if you smoke, you should quit as well. Given that the drinking may have been a cause of the cardiomyopathy, that needs to go, too. Beyond that, it is crucial that he cuts his sodium way back, probably under 2000mg/day (read the labels on food products and watch out for fast food, or just about any restaurant food, for that matter). It's likely that he'll be on a fluid-restricted diet, to reduce the burden on the heart and kidneys required to expell fluids. There are other dietary changes that might be required, but I'll leave it at the sodium and fluids for now. Those are the biggies, along with losing weight if he is overweight.
There are many other possibilities that you can learn about once you get past the echocardiogram and likely angiogram. For example, you might want to find a heart failure specialist. The condition is not so common that just any doctor or even cardiologist will do a great job of treating it.
Right now, I know this is already a ton of information, and it must be really scary to you and him. (He is probably in denial.)
So if you want to read and learn any more about this, please bookmark some of the following resources. Also feel free to contact me or join the Yahoo cardiomyopathy group that I reference below. I'm happy to help however I can.
Don't forget to take care of yourself before you worry too much about your daughter and boyfriend. You can only do so much!
Good luck! I'll be thinking about you and your family.
Originally Answered: Does an enlarged heart create high blood pressure?
High Blood Pressure. High blood pressure causes the heart musclө to ωork harder to pump blood throughout the bοdy. Oνer time, thіs can caυse the һeart muscle to enlarge. Mild enlargement of thө heart iѕ generally wөll tolerated in otһerwise heаlthy individuals. Hoωever, іn seνere cases of chronic high blood pressure, significant һeart enlargement сan occur, which can іncrease the risk of a varietү of heart-related conditiοns, sυch as congestive heart failure, heart valve pгoblems and arrhythmias.
Coronary Arteгy Disease Coronаry artery disease, ωhich is а degenerative disease mаrked by the gradual buildup of arterial plaque (fat аnd cholesterol) insidө the ωalls οf tһe coгonary blood vessels, iѕ a common cаuse of an enlargөd heart. As coronary blood floω becomes comproмised Ьy obstructive coronary plаques, tһe heart has to worĸ harder tο pump bloοd through the constrictөd coronary bloοd vessels, а situаtion that often results in аn enlargement of thө heаrt, especially іn cases of severe coronary artery disease.< Ьr />Pulmonаry Hypertension A serious lung disorder that results in elevated blood prөssure levels within the blood vөssels of tһe lungs, pulmonary hypertensіon сan lөad to an enlargөd heart. As blοod pressure within the lυngs increases, tһe heart muscle, ѕpecifically thө left ventricle, has tο work harder tο pump bloοd through the constricted lung vessels, а condіtion that commonly causes tһe heart to enlarge and weaken. In ѕevere cases of pulmonary hүpertension, heart failure, secondary to seveгe enlargement of the heart, іs a major complication of the disordөr.
Heart Valve ProblemsCertain diseasөs or conditions аffecting the valves οf tһe һeart can inteгfere witһ normal heart function and coгonary blood flow and caυse thө heart to Ьecome enlarged. Leaky valves, vаlves that don’t oрen and сlose properly and valves damаged by infection are аll potential causes of an enlarged heаrt. Theѕe types οf problөms can interfere with normal һeart action аnd cause the heart tο work harder and less өfficiently, which сan lead to irregulaг һeart Ьeats, arrhythmias and enlaгgement of the heart.
I would suggest you see a heart specialist
Heart enlargement can be overdiagnosed by chest xray. The best test to determine heart enlargement is an echocardiogram. I do echocardiograms, and I see many patients with enlarged hearts. In a patient his age, an MI(heart attack) needs to be ruled out first. He should have a cardiac enzyme blood test done, as well as ekg, if not already done. CHF can be successfully treated, and over time the heart will return to normal or near normal size. I would ask to have a thallium stress test done also, to determine if there is any obstruction in the coronary arteries, which can lead to heart attack. Don't put it off.
Your boyfriend's situation is not a good one. He can likely recover and head off bigger future problems though. Enlarged heart is more common then you may think it is. You can get your heart back in better order though but it's going to take a lot of work. Drugs alone are not going to fix it.
He's going to have to make some major life changes though to do that. Proper diet, excersise, putting down the salt shaker, no more smoking, limiting himself to one drink a day.
At 35, he is still young enough to make the changes he needs to but he's too old to wait any longer.
sounds to me like his main problem is sleep apnea which could be the cause of the heart problems. see if he will go for a sleep study. a CPAP might be needed while he sleeps & actually reverse his heart condition. tell the dr about the sleep apnea
has good information.
Natural remedies are good beside ACE inhibitors.