Hypertrophy of the left ventricle: what is it?

If a person has blood pressure, this means that his heart works harder. To deal with it, the heart muscle thickens, resulting in an increase of its size. An enlarged heart can not pump blood as it should, so this condition is a common cause of heart failure.

What is the hypertrophy of the left ventricle?

The heart consists of the right and the left who perform different jobs. Right departments collect the blood that enters from the entire body, and pump it into the lungs. From there the blood goes to the left heart where it is pumped throughout the body. Left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) is an enlargement and thickening of the walls of the main pumping chamber of the heart left ventricle. It can develop in response to certain factors (e.g. high blood pressure or heart disease), which cause the left ventricle to work harder.

With increasing load, the muscle tissue in the wall thicken, and sometimes the size of the chambers of the heart also increases. If the hypertrophied left ventricle, it lose their elasticity and eventually can not pump blood throughout the body with sufficient efficiency.

Symptoms

LVH usually develops gradually. The patient in the early stages may not experience any symptoms. Progression of LVH may appear:

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  • shortness of breath;
  • fatigue;
  • pain in the chest, often after physical exercise;
  • feeling fast or throbbing heartbeat;
  • dizziness, or fainting.

Immediately for medical assistance need to apply in the following cases:

  • the chest pain lasts more than a few minutes;
  • heavy shortness of breath;
  • severe, recurrent dizziness or loss of consciousness.
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If a person is suffering from moderate shortness of breath or other symptoms (e.g., palpitations), it is necessary to visit your doctor.

Reasons

Cardiac hypertrophy can occur when certain factors weighing the heart. These include:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension). This is the most common cause of myocardial hypertrophy. More than a third of people with LVH have a diagnosis of hypertension.
  • Stenosis of the aortic valve. This narrowing of the orifice of the valve that separates the aorta from the left ventricle. To pump blood through this narrowed orifice, the left ventricle need a stronger decline.
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. It is a genetic disease occurs when the heart muscle is pathologically thickened. Sometimes this pathology is found in children.
  • Sport training. Intensive and prolonged weight training can lead to the development of heart adaptation to increased load. It is not clear whether such cardiac hypertrophy can lead to violation of the elasticity of the heart muscle and the development of the disease.

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In addition, there are the following risk factors for development of LVH:

  • old age;
  • overweight;
  • family history;
  • diabetes mellitus;
  • gender – women with hypertension have a higher risk of developing LVH than men with the same blood pressure.

What is the danger of LVH?

Hypertrophy of the left ventricle changes the structure and functioning of the heart. Enlarged left ventricle can:

  • to weaken the force of their contractions;
  • to lose elasticity, which disrupts the proper filling of the blood chamber and increases the pressure in the heart;
  • compress the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart.
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How to diagnose LVH?

The doctor on examination may detect high blood pressure, is offset to the left border of the heart and the apical impulse, the presence of noise over the heart. To clarify the diagnosis using the following methods:

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  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) by a cardiologist can detect voltage criteria signs manifested by increase in the amplitude of teeth. LVH is often associated with violation of processes repolarization of the myocardium, which can also be detected on ECG.
  • Echocardiography (ultrasound of the heart) – may show thickened wall of the left ventricle, to help detect heart disease leading to left ventricle hypertrophy (e.g. aortic valve stenosis).
  • Magnetic resonance imaging.

How to treat LVH?

The treatment of LVH depends on its causes is medication or surgery.

  • LVH associated with arterial hipertensia, is treated with interventions that control blood pressure. These include lifestyle changes (weight reduction, regular exercise, diet, Smoking cessation) and medication (angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, blockers of receptors of angiotensin, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers and diuretics).
  • LVH associated with sports usually does not require treatment. The person with this problem you need to stop lessons for 3 – 6 months. After this time you need to re-echo to determine the thickness of the heart muscle and see if it fell.
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a rare disease that should be treated under careful supervision of an experienced cardiologist. Therapy can be conservative or surgical.
  • LVH caused by aortic stenosis may require surgical treatment (plasty or valve replacement).
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When presence of LVH is very important to the right treatment and follow the doctor’s recommendations. Although this condition can be successfully controlled, there is a risk of heart failure.

Prevention

The best way to prevent the development of myocardial hypertrophy is to maintain normal blood pressure. To do this:

  • Regularly measure blood pressure.
  • Allocate time to exercise.
  • Diet – avoid salty and fatty foods, eat more fruits and vegetables, not to consume alcoholic beverages (or drink in moderation).
  • To quit Smoking.