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How to treat left atrial enlargement

Updated November 21, 2016

Left atrial enlargement is a significant risk factor for atrial fibrillation, a dangerous and difficult-to-treat arrhythmia of the heart, which makes a person vulnerable to strokes. Left atrial enlargement has a strong link to hypertension and obesity. These are treatable conditions, which are much more easily corrected than atrial fibrillation, so treating left atrial enlargement can prevent a more serious heart condition.

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  1. Reduce weight if overweight and maintain healthy weight. Obesity is a key factor in developing left atrial enlargement.

  2. Take statin medication, under a physician's care, to reduce the risk of developing AF (atrial fibrillation). In a 2004 study presented at the Heart Rhythm Society's 25th Annual Scientific Sessions, researchers found that statins reduced the risk of AF in patients with left atrial enlargement, especially those over 65 years of age.

  3. Treat hypertension. High blood pressure is a significant risk factor in developing left atrial enlargement, along with obesity. Exercise, healthy eating, not smoking, and taking hypertension medication are all ways of treating hypertension.

  4. Take beta blockers, under a doctor's care, to prevent atrial fibrillation when left atrial enlargement is present, particularly following cardiac surgery. Beta blockers are considered both safe and effective.

  5. Take magnesium, polyunsaturated fatty acids and corticosteroids under a physician's care. According to the National Institutes of Health, while not a lot of data is available, it appears they can be helpful in the prevention of AF, along with beta blockers.

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Things You'll Need

  • Cardiologist
  • Weight program
  • Statin medication
  • Hypertension program
  • Beta blockers
  • Magnesium
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • Corticosteroids

About the Author

Katlyn Joy

Katlyn Joy has been a freelance writer since 1982. She graduated from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville with a master's degree in writing. While in school she served as graduate assistant editor of "Drumvoices Revue" magazine.

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