In order to live longer and better, patients with this diagnosis must be consistent in their treatment and monitor their condition
21 November 2023Tuesday, 11:11 a.m.
Author: Flagman. Bg
The disease is chronic and cannot be cured, it can only be maintained
Dr. Vanya Gospodinova, a cardiologist from “Dr. Staykov” Burgas Medical Center, focuses her patients’ attention on frequent prophylaxis and annual examinations by a cardiologist. One of the reasons is the disease dilated cardiomyopathy – a condition in which the heart enlarges, becomes like a bag and cannot perform its function of contracting. There is a progression of symptoms in this disease, with the majority of patients, particularly those over 55 years of age, dying within 3 years of initial onset of symptoms. Spontaneous improvement and stabilization of patients was observed in about a quarter of them.
“Therefore, it is necessary to carry out early prevention and a visit to the general practitioner and cardiologist to clarify symptoms related to with easy fatigue, lethargy, weakness, manifestations of shortness of breath during usual physical efforts and/or at night, presence of swelling on the lower limbs, palpitations. These are manifestations of heart failure-impossibility of the heart to pump blood to the body’s organs. Often these symptoms are mistaken for some other illness, including the flu or another virus, and should not be underestimated“, commented the cardiologist from MC “Dr. Staykov” Dr. Vanya Gospodinova.
Here is what the specialist explained about cardiomyopathies and how to proceed when diagnosed with heart failure:
“There is a group of cardiovascular diseases in which very often the causes of their occurrence remain unclear and are characterized by involvement of the heart muscle. They have no previous heart disease such as high blood pressure, ischemic heart disease, congenital or acquired valvular defects, etc. This is the group of cardiomyopathies in which the muscle cells of the heart muscle are damaged and replaced by other, non-functional tissue.
The main reasons for its occurrence can be of a different nature, as well as combined, and are related to certain deficient conditions in the body or the presence of certain diseases.
For example – presence of gout, diabetes mellitus, and other endocrine diseases of the thyroid and adrenal glands, diseases of the blood and blood-forming organs, uncontrolled tachycardia; improper nutrition – deficiency of vit. B, selenium, trace elements – e.g. calcium, magnesium; obesity; and other.
Possible causes are related to factors toxic to the body – abuse of alcohol, medicinal products containing narcotic substances, drugs, as well as the impact of factors from the external environment – heat stroke or the so-called postpartum cardiomyopathy in pregnancy.
In some cases, cardiomyopathy runs in families, or at least the predisposition to the disease is thought to be genetic in at least 20% of cases, and possibly as many as 40%.
In general, dilated cardiomyopathy, which most often affects both chambers of the heart, is more common in men than in women. The so-called Right ventricular dysplasia is a unique form of familial cardiomyopathy in which there is progressive replacement of the chamber wall by adipose/fatty/ tissue.
Very often, the development of dilated cardiomyopathy is associated with a preceding viral disease, but this cannot always be proven. An autoimmune process that leads to self-damage of myocardial muscle cells is suggested.
The disease develops gradually, but quickly leads to serious complaints, which are the result of the occurring heart failure – the heart cannot push enough blood to the organs and systems in the body, including the feeding of the heart muscle is difficult.
After this diagnosis is made, the patient must be very well explained by the attending physician that the disease is chronic and cannot be cured, it can only be maintained. The patient himself must be stimulated to cooperate in his treatment and monitor his condition.
The most important thing is not to despair and become depressed, because the psyche is also very important.
Since in heart failure the heart cannot do its job in a normal way, fluids start to accumulate in the body. First of all, in the lungs, which lead to the shortness in question, as well as throughout the body, including the limbs, which in turn leads to swelling. This disturbs the balance in the body and patients should know how to monitor their condition.
Monitoring weight, for example, is important because, if it starts to rise, it is a sign that the disease is starting to decompensate. A change of even 2 kg is significant. Salt intake should be kept to a minimum – below 6 g per day. This is equal to the salt that is in the bread, plus very little salt in the food.
The other important thing is fluid intake. Many people drink larger amounts, but for heart failure patients this is not recommended because of the build-up that results. About 1.5-2 liters per day are sufficient, and the water contained in the food consumed should also be included.
Physical activity is highly recommended – walking, jogging or swimming.
People with chronic cardiovascular diseases and especially heart failure were among the first to be identified as a risk group for the new coronavirus. From the very beginning, data came out that people who take high blood pressure drugs have the highest mortality rate and are most at risk. This was linked to the fact that a receptor located in the lungs – ACE – serves to capture the new coronavirus. The same enzyme is blocked in treatment with ACE inhibitors – the main class of drugs for high blood pressure. It has been hypothesized that this may increase both the risk of infection and its severity. The leading cardiology societies refuted this link due to a lack of solid evidence and called for the medication not to be stopped. In addition, people with cardiovascular disease are generally immunocompromised, as most of them are over 60 and have co-morbidities.
Another reason is that when the lung suffers, so does the heart. Therefore, a person with heart failure or cardiovascular disease immediately falls into the risk group for complications or death.
It has also been proven that the coronavirus can directly affect the heart – myocarditis develops, which leads to dilated cardiomyopathy, and hence to heart failure.
Another increasingly frequently discussed reason, according to some scientists, is the formation of intravascular thrombi in all parts of the body, but especially in the heart and lungs, which increases the risk of heart attack, stroke or pulmonary embolism.
However, there is still no categorical explanation for the impact of the coronavirus on heart patients.
In order for patients with heart failure to live longer and better nand the first place remains prevention.
We need to tell people who are healthy to lead a healthy lifestyle, to be responsible for themselves, so that they don’t develop the diseases that lead to heart failure.
The idea is to approach heart failure and patients according to a Western model, based on a personalized approach to the diagnosis, treatment and ambulatory monitoring of patients,” explained Dr. Dr. Vanya Gospodinova.
At Dr. Staykov Medical Center, you can get even more detailed information about your condition from Dr. Vanya Gospodinova. You can make an appointment by phone: 056 99 60 06 and 0892 99 60 06 or at the registration desk. The medical facility is located at 33 Transportna Blvd., right next to the Burgas Plaza mall.
Other cardiologists and therapists work in the medical center, and patients can choose a specialist among the highly qualified Dr. Marin Momov, Dr. Ivan Staykov, Dr. Vencislav Grigorov, Dr. Diyan Gospodinov and Dr. Rositsa Velikova.