The human body has the several vital systems that are very important for the survival. One of those systems is cardiovascular or circulatory system comprised of the heart, the blood vessels and blood. The heart is a muscle that has the function to pump the blood rich in nutrient and oxygen through the blood vessels to the cells and tissues in different parts of the body. It is composed of four chambers, two upper chambers that are called atria (right atrium and left atrium), and two lower chambers that are called ventricles (right ventricle and left ventricle). Atria are smaller than ventricles. The four chambers of the heart are linked by valves.
Left atrial enlargement
The main role of the left atrium is to pump the blood that is rich in oxygen into the left ventricle. When the left atrium becomes swollen and thick, it is known as left atrial enlargement or left atrial dilation. When the left atrium is significantly enlarged, then the person with this condition may experience several symptoms. On the other hand, if the enlargement is not very large, then the symptoms may not appear at all. To diagnose this condition the doctors use chest X-rays.
The most common symptoms of the enlarged left atrium are the pain that occurs in the chest and rapid heart beating, as well as problems with breathing and extreme tiredness and exhaustion. The people who have this condition are usually unable to practice exercising or running, swimming and many other activities.
Causes of left atrial enlargement
In children, the most common cause of left atrial dilation is obesity. It is not uncommon that those who are obese are at the same time inactive. Stress is also one of the factors that can cause the enlargement of the left atrium. Today many people are under constant pressure and stress due to many problems and demands at work, but also at home. This constant stress can affect the heart.
Furthermore, because of hypertension or high blood pressure, the heart must work harder, which can be very strenuous for the heart. As a consequence, this excessive strain on the heart causes the enlargement of the left atrium. The left atrium and left ventricle are connected with mitral valve. When this valve is affected and becomes stiffen or narrowed, the left atrium has to work harder in order to pump the blood to the left ventricle. Therefore, left atrial enlargement occurs.