diastolic heart failure and prognosis

Diastolic heart failure is a new type of heart disease. Plagued in mostly older women and most patients are shocked to hear that they even have a heart problem.

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A diastolic heart problem, or diastolic dysfunction, can progress and lead to diastolic heart failure. Diastolic heart failure is a symptom of the heart where in the patient’s left ventricle stiffens and therefore decreases compliance and impaired relaxation and thus leads to increased diastolic pressure. Symptoms are quite similar to that of systolic dysfunction.

The stiffening of the ventricle may be caused by different medical conditions. Because the ventricle is “stiff” it cannot relax, which is the diastolic cycle, and thus results in the ventricles not being able to fill completely and the blood can create a dam in the other organs of the body mainly the lungs. When the diastolic cycle is not sufficient enough it produces pulmonary congestion and therefore the diagnosis of diastolic heart failure.
Diagnosis is made by using a Doppler Echochardiography.

What causes diastolic heart failure? Chronic hypertension of high blood pressure, coronary artery disease or CAD, aortic stenosis, hypertrophic and restrictive cardiomyopathy (condition of the heart where the muscle is infiltrated and “stiff” due to abnormal cells, scar tissues or protein buildup. Other causes may include sarcoidosis and hemochromatosis); and, sadly, aging.

Treatment for diastolic heart failure is to manage the underlying cause and this could be:
Control the systolic and diastolic pressure but is hard to accomplish
Treat CAD which could be the reason that lead to diastolic dysfunction.

Management of atrial fibrillation – restoring normal rhythms

Pulmonary congestion management via drugs like diuretics to eliminate water and sodium via the kidneys.
If there are no underlying causes of the dysfunction then 3 things are to be considered that being: an undiagnosed high blood pressure and thus this has to be closely monitored. Second probably cause could be CAD or Coronary Artery Disease – diagnosed via exercise testing and if this is the case CAD is treatable. Third, aerobic exercises improves the heart’s diastolic function and so having an exercise routine could be of great help of course, before starting any exercise routines consult with your physician.

For patients with Symptomatic Diastolic Dysfunction or diastolic heart failure have a relatively better prognosis than those patients with systolic heart failure but compared to those with patients without diastolic dysfunction, the prognosis is not so great. Patient with symptomatic diastolic dysfunction should be treated aggressively after acute episodes of heart failure.

Patients with Diastolic Dysfunction without symptoms have a higher mortality rate due to the underlying causes which are: high blood pressure and undiagnosed CAD. Patients suffering from diastolic dysfunction should prompt a careful determination of the underlying cause.

As always, going to the doctor for wellness check-ups is the best prevention. Changing your lifestyle, that is watching your diet and being more pro-active with your health is the best deterrent to any heart disease. Any changes or warning signs in your health that you feel and you know is not normal – do not overlook this and speak to your doctor right away.

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