If you’re told you have a big heart, you should be flattered — it only means that you are a generous or a very kind person. However, it is an entirely different story if your doctor told you that your heart is literally large. Referred to as cardiomegaly, an enlarged heart should be treated because it can cost you your life.
Cardiomegaly is not really a disease. What it is, rather, is a condition caused by an underlying medical problem such as high blood pressure, heart valve issues and coronary artery disease. The heart becomes larger than normal when its muscles become enlarged as a mechanism to help improve the pumping of oxygenated blood.
Initially, cardiomegaly may not cause any symptom. As it progresses, however, someone who has it usually complains of fatigue, palpitations, swelling of the legs, weight gain, and shortness of breath most especially when lying down. Having the underlying cause treated may help bring the heart back to its normal size.
There are all sorts of drugs that a doctor may prescribe for someone with cardiomegaly, depending on its root cause. There are also instances wherein surgery may be warranted. Aside from some medical interventions, there are also a few dietary changes and natural remedies that are proven beneficial for someone with an enlarged heart.
Limited Intake of Sodium
It is very important for the amount of sodium consumed on a daily basis to be reduced. Otherwise, the blood pressure can increase, and it’s something that can exacerbate an enlarged heart. Symptoms such as shortness of breath and swelling of the legs may worsen, too. Aside from limiting the use of the salt shaker, a person with cardiomegaly should also avoid processed foods as they tend to contain lots of sodium.
Restricted Intake of Fat and Cholesterol
A diet that’s rich in bad cholesterol and saturated fats is a total no-no for a person who is diagnosed with an enlarged heart. That’s because it can only cause all sorts of problems that can complicate cardiomegaly, such as increased cholesterol levels, increased blood pressure and obesity. Definitely, someone with cardiomegaly should refrain from having junk and fast foods because they are undeniably packed with bad cholesterol and saturated fats.
Consumption of Fiber-Rich Foods
To help lower blood pressure and encourage the heart to return to its normal size, it’s a good idea for a person with cardiomegaly to include more fiber-rich foods in the diet. Servings of fresh fruits and vegetables should be enjoyed on a regular basis. It can be very beneficial to have whole grains such as brown rice, oats, millet, bulgur, popcorn and various whole-wheat products like breads and pasta served more often on the table.
Increased Intake of Foods with Vitamin C
Vitamin C is important not only for a bolstered immune system, but also for healthy blood vessels. It’s of utmost importance for the blood vessels to be kept in superb condition in order to control high blood pressure, something that can keep the heart from returning to its normal size. Aside from citrus fruits like oranges and lemons, vitamin C can also be obtained from various tropical fruits like mangoes and papayas, and dark green leafy vegetables.
Addition of Turmeric, Onions and Garlic in the Diet
On a daily basis, a person who is told to have cardiomegaly by his or her doctor should consider the intake of certain herbs that possess amazing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. For instance, turmeric is a popular home remedy for high blood pressure. The same is true with onions. Garlic should be liberally added into the diet as it helps thin the blood, thus helping to ward off blood clots and high blood pressure.
Intake of Freshly-Brewed Green Tea
Because green tea is loaded with antioxidants, its regular intake can be very beneficial for a person who is suffering from an enlarged heart. It is said that having 2 to 3 cups of freshly-brewed green tea per day is usually enough to enjoy the many heart benefits it brings. Since green tea helps lower bad cholesterol as well as the blood pressure, taking it regularly can help prevent further complications of having a heart that’s larger than normal.