Heart failure derailed: How to protect yourself
Heart failure is one of the most common diseases in western industrialized nations. In this country, the number of those affected is estimated at two to three million. The disease cannot be cured, but it is treatable. But heart failure derails in many of those affected. Certain measures could prevent this.
At a Heart failurealso called heart failure, the heart is no longer able to pump a sufficient amount of blood around the body. The disease is responsible for hundreds of thousands of hospital admissions every year. In many cases, the hospital stays could be prevented.
So a derailment announces itself
Like the German Heart Foundation in a current one Message explains, announces a worsening of the heart failure with symptoms such as a significant gain in weight, shortness of breath or even Shortness of breath on. According to the experts, the disease can take a dramatic course up to and including emergency hospitalization: around 465,000 patients are admitted to a clinic every year because their cardiac insufficiency has derailed.
There are many causes, but in many cases hospitalization can be prevented. “Cardiac decompensation, ie a derailment of cardiac insufficiency, is often the result of an additional event,” explains Prof. Dr. med. Thomas Voigtländer, deputy chairman of the board of the German Heart Foundation. These could include cardiac arrhythmias, a sudden increase in blood pressure, or infectious diseases such as flu or COVID-19, adds the Medical Director of the Agaplesion Bethanien Hospital, Cardioangiological Center Bethanien (CCB) Frankfurt am Main. “Mistakes in taking medication are often the cause of worsening the disease,” explains the cardiologist.
Coronaviruses attack the heart
There are several reasons why both flu and coronaviruses can be dangerous for heart patients. On the one hand, these viruses do not only stay in the airways, but spread throughout the body and can also attack the heart. On the other hand, the lungs are particularly vulnerable in patients with cardiac insufficiency.
“If the heart is weak, blood can back up in the lungs due to the reduced pumping capacity,” says Voigtländer. This makes the organ more susceptible to infections – including infection with the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. So showed a worldwide, in the trade magazine “The Lancet Respiratory Medicine“Published study, for which the COVID-19 courses of more than 10,000 patients in 920 clinics were evaluated, that those with heart failure have a significantly higher risk of a severe course of the disease and had to be ventilated much more often than people without one Pre-existing heart disease.
Pay attention to possible warning signs
In order to avoid a derailment of the heart failure and thus a hospital admission, patients with heart failure should consistently take their medication and watch out for possible warning signs. For example, it is important that those affected regularly check their weight and measure their blood pressure in order to prevent blood pressure crises.
Because a COVID-19 infection can lead to severe disease in heart patients, the flu vaccination is even more important in the time of the pandemic than before. This is especially true for risk groups. “We urgently recommend patients with cardiovascular diseases to get vaccinated against flu and pneumococci,” says Voigtländer. To protect against infection with the coronavirus, the so-called AHA + L recommendations also apply, as for healthy people:
- Keep your distance: Where possible, a minimum distance of 1.50 meters from other people is recommended.
- Observe hygiene rules: This includes, in particular, thorough hand washing, but also sneezing and coughing in the crook of your arm.
- Wear everyday masks: This recommendation applies wherever you cannot keep a sufficient distance from others, for example in public transport and buildings.
- Ventilation: Regular ventilation can be an additional measure to reduce the virus load indoors.
Author and source information
This text complies with the requirements of specialist medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical professionals.
- German Heart Foundation: Derailment of heart failure: This is how those affected can protect themselves, (accessed: October 18, 2020), German Heart Foundation
- Karagiannidis C et al.: Case characteristics, resource use, and outcomes of 10 021 patients with COVID-19 admitted to 920 German hospitals: an observational study; in: The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, (veröffentlicht: online: 28.07.2020 und in: Volume 8, Issue 9, P853-862, am 01.09.2020), The Lancet Respiratory Medicine
This article is for general guidance only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor.