Cardiomegaly- best known as an Enlarged Heart

Cardiomegaly- best known as an Enlarged Heart

Cardiomegaly- best known as an Enlarged Heart

Dr. Claire Arcidiacono, ND


What is cardiomegaly? Well basically cardiomegaly means that when doctors look at your heart on routine tests such as a chest x ray the heart is larger than it should be. There are a number of different conditions that can cause cardiomegaly. Depending on what has caused the cardiomegaly the enlarged heart may be temporary or it may become permanent. To see the difference between a typical heart and an enlarged heart please see the attached picture. (1)

There are 2 types of cardiomegaly. The main type is called dilated cardiomegaly. In this type the walls of both of the sides of heart, specifically the ventricle area become thin and stretched out and thus the heart becomes enlarged. It’s like when you stretch out the elastic area of socks and they become bigger. The other type of cardiomegaly is called hypertrophic cardiomegaly which is where the muscles of the left ventricle of the heart become larger. In this case the enlarged size of the muscles causes the heart to be larger because there’s literally more heart muscle there. In this case it is like measuring the biceps on someone who hasn’t lifted weights and coming back 6 months after training and the biceps are bigger. While both types of cardiomegaly decrease the ability of the heart to function having an enlarged heart due to thick walls will allow the heart to retain more of its pumping function than having thin, stretched out walls. (2) Please see the attached picture to see the difference between the 2. (5)

Cardiomegaly has a number of different causes. First it may be caused by a congenital heart defect. Alcohol/ cocaine use can lead to an enlarged heart. Certain chronic conditions such as Diabetes, obesity, pulmonary hypertension, thyroid disease (both under and over active), chronic kidney disease, anemia and coronary artery disease.   Having a prior history of heart attack, high blood pressure and fluid around the heat can also lead to an increase in heart size. Certain viruses can cause what is referred to as myocarditis which can lead to an enlarged heart. If there is damage to any of the 4 heart valves this can change the blood flow and lead to an enlargement of the heart. Cardiac amyloids can lead to amyloid proteins collecting in the body’s organs including the heart and this can lead to an enlargement of the heart size. During pregnancy there may be an increase in heart size around time of delivery. Interesting having either too little iron or too much iron can cause an enlarged heart. Lastly there may be an enlargement of the heart if there is a layer of fat around the heart. Frequent aerobic exercise can also enlarge the size of the heart. (2)

Cardiomegaly may or may not have any symptoms. The symptoms of cardiomegaly can include breathing difficulty such as shortness of breath. There may be dizziness. You may also notice arrhythmias.  There may be heart palpitations. There may also be fluid retention. (3) In some cases there may be coughing due to chest pain.

What are the possible complications of cardiomegaly? Possible complications include blood clots, heart failure and the development of a heart murmur. Lastly having an enlarged heart can increase the risk of cardiac arrest and sudden cardiac death. (4)

How can we improve heart function if there is cardiomegaly? First it is very important to address any underlying conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure. If you need repair surgery such as heart valve surgery or coronary bypass it is important to follow up with your cardiologist. Other life style changes can include maintaining a healthy weight, blood pressure, diet and reducing alcohol or tobacco intake. (4)  In addition to life style there are a number of supplements can help our heart.


  1. CoQ10 has been found in so many studies to help with our heart health and risk factors to our heart health (such as blood pressure). In fact studies have found that CoQ10 can help with the symptoms of cardiomegaly such as fatigue and difficulty breathing. (6) Please see Invites CoQ10 Ubiquinol  120mg and our Oral Q10!
  2. D Ribose has been found in studies to help the heart to pump better even though it is enlarged. Specifically D Ribose was found to increase what is known as “ejection fraction” or how much blood the heart can pump with one go. (7) Please see Invite’s Ribose Complex
  3. Magnesium is another interesting supplement. In fact studies have found a correlation between magnesium deficiency and increased left ventricular mass. In other words the greater the magnesium deficiency the larger the heart. (8) Please see Invite’s extensive line of magnesium
  4. Resveratrol has been found in studies to help slow the development of cardiomegaly.(9) Please see Invites Resveratrol and Resveratrol Max
  5. For our product highlight I’ll be doing the partner to our Greens Hx, its buddy Reds Hx!





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