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Heart failure and COPD often occur together

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When someone suffers from shortness of breath, the first thing that comes to mind is that they have a problem with their lungs. However, this symptom can also indicate heart failure.

Both things often go hand in hand. According to the German Heart Foundation, one in three patients with heart failure also suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which causes narrowing of the airways.

However, according to the foundation, many affected are unaware of their double disease. “We see again and again that shortness of breath is attributed either only to heart failure or only to COPD,” says German cardiologist and professor Thomas Voigtländer.

Faster loss of strength in case of double sickness

“Heart and lung disease go together quite often,” explains the chairman of the foundation’s board of directors. For this reason, he considers that in the case of a diagnosis of COPD it is important to check if there is also heart failure and vice versa.

When the two diseases occur together, those affected lose strength more quickly. That is why it is important to treat both diseases in time, at an early stage.

Heart failure and COPD frequently appear together is due, among other things, to the fact that they share certain risk factors, especially smoking. The specialist points out that this is equally harmful to the respiratory tract and blood vessels.

COPD can cause heart failure

But one disease can also cause or influence the other. COPD sometimes causes thickening of the right wall of the heart, which can lead to heart failure, known as cor pulmonale.

On the other hand, according to the expert, the treatment of heart failure can significantly improve the long-term evolution of lung disease such as COPD.

Image Credit: Getty

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