A tumor in the heart is an abnormal growth in the heart valves. It can be cancerous or non-cancerous. Read to know more…
A tumour is the abnormal growth of a tissue where it should not be. They can be malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous). Abnormal growth in the heart valves is known as heart or cardiac tumours. Heart tumours are of two types: primary and metastatic.
Primary Heart Tumors
These kinds of tumours occur rarely in comparison to secondary heart tumours. Primary heart tumours originate in the heart and most of them are benign. The most common type of primary heart tumour is myxoma.
Metastatic Heart Tumor
Metastatic tumours are tumours that begin in another organ – usually the kidneys, breasts, skin or lungs and then spread to the heart. All metastatic tumours are cancerous and are more common than primary heart tumours.
What are the Symptoms?
There are no particular symptoms of heart tumour. In some cases, symptoms can be mild or severe depending on an individual’s condition. The symptoms that may occur are similar to the symptoms of other heart diseases.
Major symptoms of heart tumour may include:
- Shortness of breath
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Chest pain
- Dizziness and fatigue
- Minor symptoms include:
- Involuntary weight loss
- Pain in the joints
- Swollen legs and abdomen
- Fever or cough
- Small red spots on the skin
What Causes Heart Tumors?
Ten per cent of the patients suffering from heart tumours have a family history of the disease. The cause of the disease may vary from person to person but generally, the cause is thought to be the incapability of the immune system to detect and eradicate the abnormal growth in the body which leads to tumours. Some other things that may cause tumours in the heart include radiation, certain viruses, tobacco, nicotine, benzene and too much exposure to the sun.
It is rather difficult to diagnose heart tumours because they are rare and their symptoms are similar to other heart diseases. People suffering from heart murmurs, arrhythmia or inexplicable signs of heart failure can be diagnosed with primary heart tumours after a thorough checkup.
A person who develops a tumour in some other part of the body may start showing signs of heart failures, which is when they are tested for secondary heart tumours. One or more of the following tests are performed in case a person is diagnosed for a heart tumour.
- Chest X-ray
- Cardiac catheterization
- Heart MRI
- Coronary angiography
- Blood tests
How Can You Prevent Heart Tumors?
Some risk factors cannot be changed such as family history, age or sex, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept it as fate and live with it. There are some ways you can reduce your risk of developing a heart tumour.
Do not smoke: One of the most significant factors that lead to the development of heart disease is smoking. Nicotine present in cigarettes can damage your heart valves which allow plaque to buildup around the arteries and lead to heart tumors. You can lower the risk by quitting smoking today.
Exercise regularly: Exercising regularly can be beneficial to maintain your overall health. When you combine some kind of physical activity with other things such as eating healthy and maintaining a healthy weight, you can alleviate the risk.
Drink Moderately: Heavy drinking can be extremely harmful to your health. If you are not able to quit, at least reduce your alcohol. Drinking won’t harm you as long as you do it moderately.
Reduce Exposure to the Sun: Extreme exposure to the sun can also increase your risk of developing a heart tumour. Limit your sunbaths to a minimum to avoid developing a tumor in the heart.
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