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When we say that someone is big-hearted, it’s generally a compliment meant to praise their kindness or concern for others. But in medical circles, saying someone is big-hearted could have an entirely different meaning.

An enlarged heart (cardiomegaly) isn’t a disease, but rather a sign of another condition. An enlarged heart may be the result of a short-term stress on the body, such as pregnancy, or a medical condition, such as the weakening of the heart muscle, coronary artery disease, heart valve problems or abnormal heart rhythms.

Ranging from heart failure and heart disease to high blood pressure and hormonal fluctuations, the heart can dilate or the muscles can thicken for a wide variety of reasons and it may not always be possible to restore the heart to its normal size.

enlarged heart

Common triggers of an Enlarged Heart

Many conditions and problems can cause the heart to weaken and enlarge.

  • A weak heart is often a bigger-than-normal heart as the muscle works harder to overcome whatever obstacle is preventing it from pumping appropriately, the muscle grows or thickens, resulting in cardiomegaly.
  • The larger the heart muscle gets, the less efficient it becomes. It can get weaker and burn out.” This is the opposite of what tends to happen with skeletal muscles, such as those in the arms and legs, where an increased workload tends to lead to a stronger muscle over time. 
  • High blood pressure. High blood pressure is often called the “silent killer” because it is the source of so many health problems and may not offer many signs of its presence. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, forces your heart to work much harder than it should to move blood appropriately, which can lead to a thickening of the heart muscle.
  • Coronary artery disease. Arteries that have been narrowed or blocked with cholesterol can force your blood pressure to increase and put much more strain on the heart as it tries to force the same amount of blood through a narrower tube. In some people, this leads to heart attacks. It can also contribute to the development of cardiomegaly the heart increases in size to compensate for the arterial blockages.
  • The bigger your body becomes, the harder your heart has to work to supply oxygenated blood to that additional flesh. Therefore, the hearts of people with obesity may be working harder than is optimal. This can lead to a weakening of the heart over time.
  • Thyroid disease. The thyroid makes hormones that regulate many aspects of how the body works, and if your thyroid is making too much or not enough of a certain hormone, that can have repercussions for how well your heart works.
  • Sleep apnea. Chronic disruption of sleep which may be caused by a common condition called obstructive sleep apnea, in which the patient wakes up multiple times during the night because he or she stops breathing momentarily, can also trigger the heart to enlarge.



So, can cardiomegaly be reversed? Complete reversal may NOT BE POSSIBLE because the heart muscle observes the ALL OR NONE LAW.

Overstretched cardiac muscle fiber does not come back to the initial point! With certain conditions, such as congestive heart failure, complete reversal of the enlargement of the heart may not be possible. But with other conditions, such as pregnancy or a treatable infection, a complete reversal of the condition may be possible.

While with conditions such as high blood pressure, you may be able to stabilize the situation so that the heart doesn’t continue enlarging. It all just depends on what’s causing the problem and whether and how early in its progression it’s identified and treated appropriately.

Even if the situation can’t be completely resolved, it’s important to get it treated before it progresses farther.

An enlarged heart may be treatable by correcting the cause. Treatment for an enlarged heart can include medications, medical procedures or surgery.