Cardiomegaly (enlarged heart) isn’t a disease on its own, but rather a symptom of another condition. An enlarged heart can be seen on X-ray images, but additional tests are required to determine the exact cause of cardiomegaly.

Cardiomegaly can be temporary or chronic, depending on its underlying cause. In many cases, cardiomegaly is a treatable condition, but it’s important that you see your doctor at the first sign of the condition.

The main type of enlarged heart is dilated cardiomyopathy, where both ventricles of the heart become stretched and thin. Another type is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, where the walls of the heart become very thick—it is an inherited condition. An enlarged heart can function better when it is thicker, compared to when it is thinner.

Common causes of an enlarged heart

An enlarged heart is often caused by another condition, which puts added stress on the heart and leads to heart damage. Although there are many different causes for an enlarged heart, in some cases, the cause is unknown.

A common cause is stress on the body, especially during pregnancy, but in this situation, the cause is temporary, so the damage isn’t as lasting.

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