The human heart pumps five to six liters of blood per minute through the body, supplying organs with oxygen and nutrients. If the heart muscle is damaged, for example by a heart attack or untreated high blood pressure, it loses pumping power and this can result in chronic heart failure (cardiac insufficiency).
Breathlessness and loss of performance can indicate that the person concerned has heart failure, warns the German Heart Foundation in a recent press release. Medical help is urgently needed here.
Breathlessness and a decrease in performance may indicate heart failure. It is important to take these symptoms seriously and seek medical help, as a heart failure can lead to serious damage to the heart, brain, kidneys and muscles if left untreated.
Consequences of heart failure
Heart failure must be detected quickly
Heart failure has negative effects on the heart and other organs. If heart failure is more advanced, it can lead to heart failure or even sudden death. In Germany, about 465,000 cases of derailed heart failure are admitted to hospitals every year. About 40,000 of these cases end fatally, experts report.
“What is treacherous about cardiac insufficiency is that it usually begins with shortness of breath and a decrease in performance. The symptoms can be unspectacular,” heart specialist Professor Dr. med. Thomas Voigtländer of the German Heart Foundation reports in a press release.
What causes heart failure?
Unfortunately, these diffuse leading symptoms cannot always be immediately attributed to the heart. This increases the risk that older people attribute symptoms to their advanced age, accept them and do not see a doctor. If you are suffering from respiratory distress, medical advice should be sought immediately to treat a possible heart failure and its causes, advises Voigtländer.
Heart failure is a complex illness for medical personnel and affected persons. Treatment with medication, interventional and surgical procedures and lifestyle changes must be well coordinated.
The main causes of heart failure are coronary heart disease and high blood pressure. Approximately 70 percent of heart failure cases can be attributed to these conditions. Experts report that coronary heart disease and high blood pressure are particularly dangerous when they occur together with diabetes.
For treatment of heart failure, active cooperation of the affected person is very important to ensure that the heart disease does not worsen. A so-called derailment of the disease occurs when medications are not taken, incorrectly dosed or combined. Lifestyle also has an influence. Especially the body weight plays an important role.
Defective heart valves, atrial fibrillation, congenital heart defects, inflammatory heart muscle diseases (myocarditis) or alcohol and drug abuse are responsible for about 20 to 30 percent of cases of heart failure.
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