What is diastolic heart failure? Go through this article to find about the causes, symptoms and treatment options of this heart condition.
The human heart is a vital organ that performs the task of pumping oxygenated blood to various parts of our body. The heart is divided into four chambers. While the upper chambers are referred to as left and light atrium, the lower chambers are called left and right ventricles. The pumping cycle of the human heart is divided into diastole and systole. The term ‘diastole’ refers to a phase of the cardiac cycle wherein the heart muscles relax and the chambers fill with blood that is returned from the body.
During this phase, either the left ventricle fills with the blood from the lungs or incoming blood from the body fills up the right ventricle. On the other hand, the phase during which the heart muscle contracts and pumps out blood to various parts of the body is referred to as systole. When one’s heart is unable to supply sufficient amount of blood to various parts of the body, one is said to suffer from a heart failure. In this article, we will find out about the causes, symptoms and treatment of this heart ailment.
What is Diastolic Heart Failure?
As the name suggests, diastolic dysfunction or heart failure is associated with the inability of the cardiac muscle to relax and fill up blood. This condition might be attributed to the stiffening of the ventricles. The ventricles are pumping chambers of the heart. These can become stiff owing to certain medical conditions.
Various health problems can arise if the ventricular filling that takes place during the diastolic phase of the cardiac cycle is adversely affected. For instance, back flow of blood into the lungs would result in pulmonary congestion. This condition is referred to as diastolic dysfunction. On the other hand, systolic heart failure results from the heart’s inability to pump blood.
Causes and Symptoms
Abnormal ventricular filling may be attributed to a variety of reasons. People suffering from coronary artery disease, hypertension, pericarditis, aortic stenosis and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are at an increased risk of developing diastolic heart failure. Coronary artery disease is a condition associated with limited blood flow to the heart muscle. This is caused due to clogging of arteries that supply blood to the heart. People diagnosed with diabetes are more likely to experience coronary artery disease symptoms. Those who are obese or have elevated cholesterol levels might also be susceptible. Thickening of heart muscle could also cause this heart condition.
Aortic stenosis is another heart disease which is associated with the narrowing of the aortic valve opening. This causes the left ventricle to thicken and affects its ability to fill up with blood. Some people might also be genetically predisposed to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This is a condition that affects ventricular filling due to thickening of the walls of left ventricle. The inflammation of pericardium, the sac that surrounds the heart can also lead to chronic diastolic dysfunction.
Rapid heartbeats, chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, chest congestion, wheezing and rapid breathing are some of the symptoms of diastolic dysfunction. Since these symptoms might be caused due to various diseases, a complete medical examination must be conducted to reach a diagnosis. When the tests reveal abnormal diastolic function and normal systolic function, and the signs of congestive heart failure are also present, one is diagnosed with diastolic heart failure.
The prognosis of this heart ailment varies depending on the underlying condition responsible for causing this heart condition. Since the treatment will vary depending on the underlying cause, identifying the cause is very important. The treatment is basically symptomatic. For instance, if chronic high blood pressure is responsible for causing this condition, efforts must be made to manage hypertension.
Replacement of aortic valve might help in case of some people. Use of beta-blockers or ACE inhibitors might be recommended. Doctors might also try to slow down the heart rate so that the heart gets more time to relax and fill up with blood. The use of vasodilators or diuretics might be recommended so as to reduce pulmonary congestion. Since this condition is relatively new, studies are still going on to determine the effectiveness of various treatment options.
This was some information on causes, symptoms and treatment of diastolic dysfunction. If you have been experiencing any such symptoms, take them as a warning sign and start paying attention to the health of your heart.