Symptoms of Enlarged Heart Often Ignored

It was a sudden and unexpected tragedy in southern Oklahoma that still hasn't sunk in.

Well known district attorney Mitch Sperry died Wednesday morning after suffering a heart attack.

Just 44-years-old the medical examiner says that an enlarged heart lead to his death.

It's a condition that often comes without warning and is a killer of all ages.

The medical term is cardiomegaly, it's the abnormal enlargement of the heart and is actually a by-product of another problem that is forcing the heart to be overworked.

Sometimes there are warnings signs, but there are also times where the first symptom is a sudden death.

Certainly a scary thought and even more troubling, when the symptoms do show up, they are often ignored.

Symptoms like shortness of breath and fatigue are very subtle but important signs that everyone needs to take seriously.

Some of the things that force a heart to work harder than it should and thus cause the enlargement can include high blood pressure, heart disorders, or even an increase in physical workload, that's why athletes of all ages are especially at risk.

Those most at risk are similar to that of other diseases, smokers, drinkers, diabetics, but perhaps the biggest risk factor is the one you have no control over, a family history of heart problems.

Since an enlarged heart can occur with no sign or symptoms, it is important for those that do have a family history of problems to receive regular screenings, from a cardiologist.

Anyone who is suffering from breathing difficulties, dizziness or an irregular heartbeat need do the same.

Most deaths can be prevented if detected early.

Mitch Sperry will be laid to rest Friday in Ardmore at 2 p.m. at the first United Methodist Church. That's off main and "E" Street Northwest.

The Sperry family is asking people that instead of purchasing flowers, that you donate what you can to the American Heart Association.