About 465,000 patients are admitted to a clinic each year because their heart failure has been derailed. In many cases, hospitalization can be avoided. (Image: Zerbor / stock.adobe.com)
Heart failure derailed: how to protect yourself
Heart failure is one of the most common diseases in industrialized Western countries. In this country, the number of people affected is estimated between two and 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.
Heart failure, also called heart failure, means the heart is no longer able to pump enough blood around the body. The disease is responsible for hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations each year. In many cases, hospital stays could be avoided.
So a derailment looms
As the German Heart Foundation explains in a recent press release, the weakness of the heart worsens, with symptoms such as heavy weight gain, shortness of breath or even shortness of breath. According to experts, the disease can take a dramatic course up to and including emergency hospitalization: around 465,000 patients are admitted to a hospital each year because their heart failure has been derailed.
There are many causes, but in many cases hospitalization can be avoided. “Cardiac decompensation, that is to say a derailment of heart failure, is often the result of an additional event”, explains Prof. Dr. med. Thomas Voigtländer, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the German Heart Foundation. These could include cardiac arrhythmias, a sudden increase in blood pressure or infectious diseases such as influenza or COVID-19, adds the medical director of Agaplesion Bethanien Hospital, Bethanien Cardio-Angiological Center (CCB) of Frankfurt am Main. “Errors in taking medication are often the cause of the worsening of the disease,” explains the cardiologist.
Coronaviruses attack the heart
There are several reasons why the flu and coronaviruses can be dangerous for heart patients. On the one hand, these viruses do not only stay in the respiratory tract, but spread throughout the body and can attack the heart as well. In contrast, the lungs are particularly vulnerable in patients with heart failure.
“If the heart is weak, blood can flow back to the lungs due to the reduced pumping capacity,” Voigtländer explains. This makes the organ more susceptible to infections – including infection with the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. A global study published in the trade magazine “The Lancet Respiratory Medicine”, for which the COVID-19 courses of more than 10,000 patients in 920 clinics have been evaluated, has shown that people with heart failure are at significantly higher risk. high of severe course. Have illness and have had to be ventilated much more frequently than people without previous heart disease.
Pay attention to possible warning signs
In order to avoid derailment of heart failure and therefore hospitalization, patients with heart failure should systematically take their medication and watch out for any warning signs. For example, it is important for affected people to regularly check their weight and measure their blood pressure in order to avoid blood pressure attacks.
Because a COVID-19 infection can lead to serious illness in heart patients, flu vaccination is even more important during the time of the pandemic than before. This is especially true for groups at risk. “We urgently recommend that patients with cardiovascular diseases get the flu and pneumococcal vaccines,” Voigtländer says. To protect against infection with the coronavirus, the so-called AHA + L recommendations also apply, as for healthy people:
Keep your distance: whenever possible, a minimum distance of 1.50 meters from other people is recommended. Respect the rules of hygiene: this includes in particular washing your hands thoroughly, but also sneezing and coughing in the crook of your arm. Wear everyday masks: this recommendation applies wherever you cannot stay a sufficient distance from others, for example in public transport and buildings. Ventilation: Regular ventilation can be an additional measure to reduce the viral load indoors.
Author and source information
This text complies with the requirements of specialized medical literature, medical directives and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.
Deutsche Herzstiftung: Heart Failure Derailment: Here’s How Affected People Can Protect Themselves (Accessed October 18, 2020), Deutsche Herzstiftung Kariannidis C et al .: Case Characteristics, Resource Use and Outcomes of 10,021 COVID Patients- 19 admitted to 920 German hospitals: an observational study; in: The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, (published: online: 07/28/2020 and in: Volume 8, Issue 9, P853-862, 01/09/2020), The Lancet Respiratory Medicine
This article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.