An enlarged heart is a symptom of an underlying disorder that is causing the heart to work harder than normal. Possible causes include coronary heart disease, cardiac ischaemia, high blood pressure, idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, myocarditis, heart valve disease or a previous heart attack. Another name for an enlarged heart is cardiomegaly. An enlarged heart may be asympomatic (have no symptoms). However, possible symptoms include breathing problems, shortness of breath, dizziness, irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), heart palpitations or fluid retention.
High blood pressure (hypertension) means that your blood is pumping at a higher pressure than normal through your arteries. This can contribute to a number of diseases including heart attack, kidney failure or stroke. Hypertension usually produces no symptoms. Hereditary factors, obesity, a diet high in salt, smoking and a lack of physical activity can all contribute to hypertension. Some drugs including the combined contraceptive pill (the pill) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) may also cause hypertension.
Angina is chest pain caused by insufficient blood flow to the muscle of the heart. Angina may be a warning sign of an impending heart attack. Arteries which service the heart have become narrowed by fatty plaques, which reduces blood flow.
Peripheral Vascular Disease
Peripheral vascular disease is the reduced circulation of blood to a body part other than the brain or heart. It is caused by a narrowed or blocked blood vessel. Risk factors include diabetes, obesity and lack of physical activity. Peripheral vascular disease is also known as peripheral artery disease or peripheral atherosclerosis.
Hyperlipidemia is an excess of fatty substances called lipids, largely cholesterol and triglycerides, in the blood. It is also called hyperlipoproteinemia because these fatty substances travel in the blood attached to proteins. This is the only way that these fatty substances can remain dissolved while in circulation.
Hyperlipidemia, in general, can be divided into two subcategories:
1. hypercholesterolemia, in which there is a high level of cholesterol
2. hypertriglyceridemia, in which there is a high level of triglycerides, the most common form of fat
Obesity increases the risk of many diseases. Adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater are classified as obese, but different measures are used for children and teenagers. Chronic conditions and diseases associated with obesity include diabetes, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, stroke, some cancers and sleep apnoea.