What is LVH?

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LVH or left ventricular hypertrophy is a condition wherein one of the heart’s chambers called the left ventricle is enlarged.  The enlargement is due to the thickening of the myocardium or heart muscles that compose this particular chamber.  The left ventricle is considered the main chamber for blood pumping as it is the part of the heart that gives blood to the aorta and eventually supply the rest of the body. Most LVH is attributed to the presence of high blood pressure. The higher the pressure of blood flow in this particular chamber, the greater will be the exertion of the heart muscles which will eventually lead to hypertrophy.

People with high blood pressure are commonly associated to also have LVH or left ventricular hypertrophy.  In order for the heart to cope with the increase in blood pressure, the myocardium in the left ventricle will compensate by working even harder to pump out blood for the extremities and other body organs and parts.  As this particular chamber works extra harder and harder each day, the muscles surrounding it will also grow bigger and thicker leading to hypertrophy.  People with LVH will then be prone to have a heart attack or myocardial infarction at some point in the future.

Typical symptoms of LVH include shortness of breath and pain in the chest area especially after some exercise or physical activity.  Some people may also experience palpitations while doing a chore or while even at rest.  Dizziness may also be felt by those who have left ventricular hypertrophy.  Many of these symptoms will not develop instantly but rather gradually depending on the thickening of the muscles in the left ventricle.  Management of this disease will depend on why the person has LVH symptoms in the first place. Those with high blood pressure will be given advice and medications to control or regulate it.  LVH secondary to extreme physical exertion may be managed with exercise or training modification.  Extreme cases meanwhile may warrant strictly monitored medication and even surgery.

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