Diastolic heart failure: Everything you need to know

What is Diastolic heart failure or Diastolic dysfunction?

It is a chronic condition of the heart in which the heart loses its ability to pump enough blood to meet the demands of the body. It is a very common condition of the heart responsible for a large number of deaths every year.

This type of heart failure takes place because the ventricles do not fill properly or fully which leads to lower cardiac output, as there is not enough blood in the left ventricle to start with. This finally leads to decreased or reduced ejection of blood.

How does the Diastolic heart failure take place?

Here is a stepwise attempt to explain the diastolic dysfunction of the heart in a very simple way:

The heart is a big muscle that works to pump blood to the parts of the body. During diastolic heart failure, the heart has to work very hard in order to pump the blood which in turn makes the muscles of the heart bigger and thicker.

There could be many reasons for the heart to work harder than regular to pump blood to the body, one of them being the size of the ventricles becomes larger.

Whatever may be the reason, but it make the ventricles bigger, tighter and stiffer.

The same thing happens when you workout in the gym, you break your muscles fibers by working on it which later becomes more thick and stiff. But in this case, it is not like your other muscles which look good when you work it out with.

When the ventricle becomes thick it loses its elasticity and therefore it has to work harder and harder to pump blood. As a result, it becomes tighter and tighter and loses its efficiency to pump blood and the ability to relax.

This, in turn, is responsible for shortness of breath, fatigue and eventually leads to Heart Failure(HF).

Summary

In the condition of Diastolic heart failure, the left ventricle of the heart loses its elasticity and hence, becomes stiffer. This causes the heart to pump lesser blood to the parts of your body and the heart does not relax the way it should. This eventually leads to the condition of Diastolic heart failure.

Etiology(causes) of Diastolic heart failure

Most commonly diastolic heart failure is caused due to the process of natural ageing of the heart. The heart looses its flexibility with time and therefore becomes stiff, which in turn gives rise to this condition.

Some other causes of Diastolic dysfunction are-

  1. Coronary artery disease(CAD)– Due to this disease the arteries that supply blood to the heart get blocked. The blocking of the arteries results in decreased blood supply to the heart which in turn causes the heart to pump lesser blood.
  2. High blood pressure- High blood pressure may cause the heart to thicken its walls in an attempt to pump against high blood pressure.
  3. Obesity- Obesity is always known to be a big risk to the heart. It also contributes to Diastolic dysfunction as inactivity makes the heart work more to pump blood to your body.
  4. Diabetes– Commonly People with diabetes type-2 are found to be suffering from this problem.
  5. Inheritance– Also known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, this inherited abnormality causes the heart muscles to thicken. And a stiff heart eventually leads to the diastolic heart failure.

Symptoms

The regular symptoms of diastolic heart failure include-

  • Shortness of breath
  • Reduced concentration levels
  • Tiredness, weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Breathlessness or shortness of breath during workouts
  • Reduced appetite
  • Confusion
  • Swelling in feet, ankle, and abdomen because of fluid retention in the body
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Sudden weight gain

Diagnosis

To discover that you are suffering from the diastolic heart failure your cardiologist is going to perform a set of tests, after knowing your medical history. The most common tests that are performed for the diagnosis are as follows:

  • Blood test
  • Echocardiogram test
  • Stress test
  • EKG(Electrocardiogram)
  • X-Ray of chest
  • Electrophysiology test

Systolic vs diastolic failure of the heart- The actual difference

Both diastolic and sytolic heart failure are different from each other and affect us in different ways.

Systolic heart failure- Systolic heart failure is caused when your heart is not able to contract properly, this means that the left ventricle is unable to push blood to the parts of the body as it should.

Diastolic heart failure- This type of heart failure is caused when the heart is not able to relax properly, due to the thickening of the left ventricle muscles.

Can Diastolic dysfunction of the heart reversed?

This is a very commonly raised question by the new heart patients, unfortunately, there is no cure for diastolic dysfunction. But the good thing is that proper medication and treatment can help prevent and control the symptoms.

All types of diastolic heart failures cannot be controlled by medications, and therefore you need to take the required steps to prevent the situation from getting worse.

Necessary preventive steps that you must take note of(PRO TIPS)

Regular health check ups-

Make sure that you are in touch with your doctor, regular check ups are very important to control the situation as symptoms can become severe without knowledge.

Eat healthily

A healthy eating habit will always help you keep at bay fromnot only heart diseases but also other diseases. Adding powerful super foods to your diet on a daily basis will definitely help you with symptoms.

Maintain a healthy weight

An person is always at a risk of getting cardiac and other types of disorders, therefore, if you are obese you must exercise a little to maintain your weight.

Stop unhealthy practices

Smoking and high consumption of alcohol will never help you in the long run. Such unhealthy practices may accelerate your symptoms. Therefore, these practices must be avoided completely.

Diastolic heart failure treatment

The Prognosis of diastolic heart failure may differ from person to person depending on the stage of diastolic heart failure. The medications and treatment that you may be needing can be prescribed to you only by your doctor.

Thus, it is adviseable that you do not take any medicine or drug on your own, without a doctors approval.

Pragat vyawahare

This is Pragat Vyawahare a microbiologist, nutritionist and the founder of Healthysab

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