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Heart problems and copd

11/08/2017
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There's no question that copd can be associated with heart problems. Like copd, heart failure is often a long term disease that gets worse over time, and not just from the effects of aging. The term chronic heart failure means that the heart, little by little, loses its ability to pump efficiently, which may lead to symptoms like shortness of breath and fatigue.


But the exact relationship between COPD AND heart problems isn’t fully understood. Certainly, when you have copd, your heart has to work harder to distribute oxygen rich blood to the rest of your body. 


Keep an eye on your ankles. Your ankles may swell occassionally for all kinds of reasons, but if they are consistently swollen, that could be an indication that your heart isn’t pumping blood the way it should. When your heart loses its efficiency, blood tends to pool in the lower part of your body, especially in your feet and ankles. If your ankles are regularly swollen, discuss this with your doctor. 


Right heart disease is the most common form of heart trouble in copd patients, because of the way the circulatory system works. As your blood circulates through your arteries, it distributes oxygen and collects carbon dioxide and other wastes. Usually the pressure in the blood vessels surrounding your lungs is quite low. But with copd, your pulmonary blood pressure increases because many of the blood vessels in your lungs are damaged or destroyed, so there are fewer routes to carry the same amount of blood. This increased pressure means the right side of your heart has to work harder to do its pumping. Over time, that extra work can strain and weaken the right heart muscle. 


Just having copd can double your risk of developing cardio vascular disease , even if you don’t smoke and your blood pressure is normal. This is another reason exercise is so critical to treating your copd symptoms. Not only does it help preserve your lung function, but it helps your heart. There is a popular misconception that because copd can’t be cured, it can’t be treated. There is a difference between curing a disease and managing virtually every aspect of your physical and mental health. Your health care team can help you do just that.


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