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Heart Attack and Heart Failure: Causes and Risk Factors


Heart attacks and heart failure are often based on similar causes and risk factors. Both a heart attack and many cases of heart failure is preceded by the so-called coronary heart disease (CHD). This disease, also known as vascular calcification (arteriosclerosis), it comes to deposits in the coronary arteries. By narrowing the coronary vessels of the heart muscle is poorly supplied with oxygen and nutrients, which is initially noticeable under stress. If the coronary heart disease persists, the heart muscle is damaged and the pumping power of the heart subsides - a cardiac insufficiency arises. Coronary heart disease is one of the most common causes of heart failure.

The coronary heart disease can also lead to a heart attack: The deposits in the vessels, called plaques, can easily tear and injure the vessel. As with a wound on the skin surface, the body tries to close this injury - in the already "calcified" heart vessels, however, this can have fatal consequences: A clot is formed, which can close the whole vessel within a short time. As a result, parts of the heart muscle are no longer supplied with blood and die. This is then a heart attack, affected then notice sudden pain and a tightness and pressure in the chest. Heart attacks and heart failure are based on similar risk factors, including smoking, high blood lipid levels, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Heart failure after myocardial infarction: impairment of pumping capacity

Myocardial infarction and heart failure are also related in that myocardial infarction can lead to heart failure. Depending on how severely the heart has been damaged in a heart attack, the pumping power of the muscle is impaired, so that after a heart attack heart failure can persist in chronic form. If only small parts of the heart muscle are affected by the heart attack, there is usually no restriction of cardiac output. However, if a large part of the heart muscle is affected by a heart attack, the muscle may be so weakened that a performance weakness persists. Also, the formation of scar tissue by the myocardial infarction can reduce the pumping power of the heart. Thus, a heart attack that affects large parts of the heart muscle, also an acute heart failure can be triggered. An immediate (emergency) medical treatment is then required.

Remodeling processes at heart

During and after a heart attack, various complex remodeling processes take place in the heart (so-called remodeling): the body tries to "repair" the heart muscle, resulting in scar tissue. These processes can also alter the shape and size of the ventricle, which in turn affects the pumping capacity of the heart and the development and severity of heart failure.

Type 2 diabetes: Risk factor for heart failure

People who suffer from adult onset diabetes (type 2 diabetes mellitus) are at increased risk of contracting heart failure, so people with diabetes should be regularly screened for heart failure by the doctor. In particular, since the heart failure at the beginning of the disease causes no discomfort, heart failure is often overlooked or recognized too late. Inconvenient symptoms such as tiredness, fatigue, exhaustion and shortness of breath after an activity or even at rest should be taken seriously and must be reported to the doctor. According to the association of Cardiologist Hudson Fl, timely identification of heart failure and treatment tailored to the individual situation of the patient can improve life expectancy and quality of life.

Heart failure as a possible consequence of diabetes

On the one hand, the increased risk comes from the fact that in people with type 2 diabetes, the risk factors such as high blood pressure, lipid metabolism disorders and obesity are more common than in non-diabetics. But there are also mechanisms that can lead directly to heart failure due to the high blood sugar level. These include metabolic changes in the heart muscle cells, such as the increased storage of fats in the energy power plants (mitochondria) of the heart muscle cells, and a pathological increase in connective tissue. Also factors such as older age, insulin therapy, and poor circulation of the heart muscle can promote the occurrence of heart failure by diabetes.

Studies have shown that a poorly adjusted blood sugar level can increase the risk of developing heart failure: If the long-term blood glucose (HbA1c) value rises by 1 percent, the risk of developing heart failure increases by 16 percent. Conversely, a normalization of blood sugar levels regrettably cannot reduce the risk of contracting heart failure.

Heart failure through diabetes: Early detection is the alpha and omega

Early detection of heart failure is particularly important in diabetics. For sufferers often take the first symptoms as age-related or interpret them as consequences of diabetes. That's why they do not go to the doctor. It is possible to detect heart disease at an early stage and then treat it with tests such as ECG, echocardiography and laboratory tests such as NT-pro BNP.

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