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Heart Consult

Diastolic Heart Failure

Diastolic heart failure is a form of a cardiac disease (heart failure) wherein the heart’s ventricles become too stiff which results in the blood filling problems. Due to this, the heart tends to pump less blood, resulting in fluid to fill up in the lungs.

The symptoms of diastolic heart failure are similar to that of any other heart failure. The most common symptoms are:
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Shortening of breath 
Diastolic heart failure is more common in women when compared to men. The risk of developing diastolic heart failure increases with age. That is, diastolic heart failure tends to become more common as we get older. This is mainly because as we get older, our heart and  blood vessels tend to lose its elasticity, thereby leading to stiffness. This in turns retards the ability of the heart to fill blood. According to a recent study, over fifty percent of heart patients above the age of seventy have diastolic heart failure. While this is the natural cause for having diastolic heart failure, there are other causes like diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, coronary heart disease, etc. Let us now have a brief discussion on each one of them.  
Diabetes is one of the main reasons that cause diastolic heart failure. It is because diabetes tends to increase the thickness of the walls of the heart’s chambers. However, this problem is seen in women and not in men. The reason for this is that diabetes damages the heart muscle of women.  
High blood pressure is another reason that leads to diastolic heart failure. Most of us know that high blood pressure causes your heart to work harder in order to pump blood. This prolonged tedious work performed by the heart finally results in the heart muscle getting thicker and larger. Thus, these thickened heart muscles eventually start getting stiff and hence results in diastolic heart failure.  
Coronary artery disease (CAD) decreases blood flow to the heart muscle, which can in due course damage the capability of the heart to pump blood. CAD increases the chances of developing heart failure after a heart attack. 
Obesity causes your heart to work harder. Over time, this limits your heart’s ability to fill with blood, thereby making way for diastolic heart failure.
The image below shows a normal heart
 normal heart image
The image below shows the heart with diastolic heart failure.

 heart with diastolic heart failure

Diagnosis of Diastolic Heart Failure
The ability to pump out blood in heart patients is measured by ejection fraction. The diagnosis of diastolic heart failure requires two conditions. First step is to detect the presence of the symptoms of the heart failure. Once the symptoms are observed then the next step would be to detect the presence of normal or slightly reduced ejection fraction. Diastolic heart failure usually has an ejection fraction of fifty percent.
Treatment for Diastolic Heart Failure
The treatment of diastolic heart failure depends on various factors. However, the treatment for diastolic heart failure involves methods to gain control over the symptoms. There are even chances of the doctors using certain medications in order to lower the heart rate, which in turn lets the hearts chambers to relax a little more. The prognosis of diastolic heart failure is usually good.  
To conclude, Diastolic heart failure is a serious clinical disorder mainly seen in  elderly patients with hypertensive heart disease. Though there is no specific treatment for this, with early recognition and appropriate treatment, diastolic heart failure can be successfully treated. But we cannot deny the fact that heart failure is a serious life-threatening condition especially for those with more severe symptoms. Therefore seek able guidance from your doctors in order to lead a long and healthier life.