Definition

What is left ventricular hypertrophy?

Left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) is a condition in which the left side muscle wall of your heart (ventricle) becomes thickened (hypertrophy).

Left ventricular hypertrophy can develop to respond to some factor: such as high blood pressure or a heart condition which force the left ventricle to work harder. When it overloads, the muscle tissues in the chamber wall become much thick than normal and increase gradually. The enlarged heart muscle will be no more elastic and eventually may fail to pump with as much force as needed.

With people who have uncontrolled high blood pressure, they have a very high risk of left ventricular hypertrophy is. But no matter what your blood pressure is, developing left ventricular hypertrophy puts you at higher risk for a heart attack and stroke.

Treating high blood pressure can help ease your symptoms and may reverse left ventricular hypertrophy.

How common is left ventricular hypertrophy?

Left ventricular hypertrophy is more common in people who have uncontrolled high blood pressure. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of left ventricular hypertrophy?

The common symptoms of left ventricular hypertrophy are:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain, often after exercising
  • Sensation of rapid, fluttering or pounding heartbeats (palpitations)
  • Dizziness or fainting

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

You should contact your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • You feel chest pain that lasts more than a few minutes
  • You have severe difficulty breathing
  • You have severe, recurring lightheadedness or lose consciousness
  • If you experience mild shortness of breath or other symptoms, such as palpitations.
  • If you have high blood pressure or another condition that make your have a high risk of left ventricular hypertrophy, you need seek your doctor to monitor your heart. Even if you feel well, you need to have your blood pressure checked annually, or more often if you:
    • Smoke
    • Are overweight
    • Have other conditions that increase the risk of high blood pressure

Causes

What causes left ventricular hypertrophy?

In fact, the heart is a composition of a certain kind of muscle. And so, like other muscles, it will become bigger if it is worked hard over time. Several health conditions cause your heart to work harder than normal.

Factors that can cause your heart to work harder include:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension). This is the most popular reason of left ventricular hypertrophy. At the time of their diagnosis with hypertension, they almost have evidences of left ventricular hypertrophy.
  • Aortic valve stenosis. This is a disease when the tissue flap (aortic valve) that separates the left ventricle from the large blood vessel leaving your heart (aorta) becomes narrow. The narrowing of the aortic valve causes the left ventricle to work harder to pump blood into the aorta.
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This is a genetic disease and it occurs when the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick, making it harder for the heart to pump blood.
  • Athletic training. Intense, prolonged endurance and strength training can cause the heart to adapt to handle the extra workload. It’s unclear whether this athletic type of left ventricle hypertrophy can lead to stiffening of the heart muscle and disease.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for left ventricular hypertrophy?

There are many risk factors for left ventricular hypertrophy, such as:

  • Age. Left ventricular hypertrophy is more common in older people.
  • Being overweight increases your risk of high blood pressure and left ventricular hypertrophy.
  • Family history. Certain genetic conditions are associated with developing hypertrophy.
  • Diabetes
  • Race. African-Americans are at higher risk of left ventricular hypertrophy than are white people with similar blood pressure measurements.
  • Sex. Women with hypertension are at higher risk of left ventricular hypertrophy than are men with similar blood pressure measurements.

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is left ventricular hypertrophy diagnosed?

  • A health history, family history and thorough physical examination including checking your blood pressure and heart function.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG). Electrical signals are recorded as they travel through your heart.
  • Sound waves produce live-action images of your heart. Echocardiogram can reveal thickened muscle tissue in the left ventricle, blood flow through the heart with each beat, and heart abnormalities related to left ventricular hypertrophy
  • Images of your heart can be used to diagnose left ventricular hypertrophy.

How is left ventricular hypertrophy treated?

If you have LVH, your treatment depends on the cause of the condition:

  • Controlling your blood pressure. Lifestyle changes and medications can help you to control your blood pressure well. There is ongoing debate about whether some medications for high blood pressure can cause LVH to improve.
  • Athletic hypertrophy does not require treatment. If you have this condition, you will need to stop exercising for 3 to 6 months. At that time, you will have another echocardiogram to measure the thickness of the heart muscle and see if it has lessened.
  • HOCM is a rare condition that should be followed by a cardiologist with expertise in this area. If you have HOCM, you may need medical management or surgery.
  • If you have LVH, it is important to get proper treatment. Although the condition can be well-managed, you are at risk of developing heart failure. Following your treatment plan and seeing your doctor as recommended can help reduce this risk.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remediesthat can help me manage left ventricular hypertrophy?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with left ventricular hypertrophy:

  • Weight loss. Left ventricular hypertrophy is often found in obese people regardless of blood pressure.
  • Limiting salt in your diet. Too much salt can increase your blood pressure.
  • Drinking alcohol in moderation, if at all. Alcohol can also raise your blood pressure, especially if consumed in large amounts.
  • Regular exercise. Ask your doctor if you need to restrict certain physical activities, such as weightlifting, which may temporarily raise your blood pressure.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

 

Review Date: August 23, 2017 | Last Modified: August 23, 2017

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