The Relationship between COPD and Heart Problems
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the Unites states, followed by cancer. However, most people don’t know that Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases like COPD is the third leading cause of death. COPD and heart problems, especially heart failure, have one symptom in common- difficulty in breathing. Hence, most people with heart problems tend to find it difficult to exercise, climb stair or even walk distances.
If you have COPD and heart problems, it can be very difficult to identify the main cause of your shortness of breath. Here is what you need to know about the relationship between COPD and heart problems.
Shortness of Breath: Heart failure or COPD?
Shortness of breath is a common symptom between COPD and heat failure. Its important to know the difference between shortness of breath by COPD and heart failure.
Shortness of Breath by Heart Failure: In patients with heart failure, the heart find it difficult pumping blood. When such patient is in a resting state, they tend not to have difficulty breathing. However, with a little exertion, the heart needs to work harder to provide blood to the body and lungs and if it cannot keep up with this demand, blood can back up in the lungs, causing fluid congestion and shortness of breath.
Shortness of Breath Caused by COPD: Just as in the case of people with heart failure, people with COPD also enjoy a normal breathing condition in resting state. However, when in action, especially demanding ones, the lungs find it hard to bring in enough oxygen, despite heavy breathing.
When a COPD patient exhales, they are not able to push out all the oxygens I their lungs. Therefore, when they inhale their next breath before all of their previous breath has been expelled. The result is shortness of breath.
Main Types of Heart Failure: According to the American Heart Association, there are three primary types of heart failures namely:
Left-Sided Heart Failure- Results in the inability of the heart to fill with enough blood during the resting period between each beat.
Right-Sided Heart Failure- Results in increased fluid pressure, and weakness in the right ventricle.
Congestive Heart Failure- Results in edema or swelling of the legs and ankles.
COPD with Left-Sided Heart Failure: The truth remains that COPD is not directly related to Left-Sided Heart Failure. However, they can aggravate each other. When blood is not well oxygenated due to COPD, there is more stress on the heart. And when there is an excess of fluid in the lungs from left-sided heart failure, it could make breathing more difficult for someone with COPD.
COPD with Right-Sided Heart Failure: Unlike the left-sided heart failure, COPD can actually affect the heart’s right side ventricle. The excess strain from pulmonary hypertension on the right ventricle can result in heart failure. You should also note that other medical conditions could also be the cause of a right-sided heart failure.
How do you know if you have COPD and Heart Problems?
If you are concerned about these conditions or you feel you might be experiencing COPD and heart problems, you should consider visiting your doctor immediately. Fata congestive heart failure strikes without any warning. However, with the right medication, you can control hypertension and any other condition that may lead to heart failure.