How Does COPD Affect Cardiac Health?

Cardiac Health | Monday, November 19th, 2012 | No Comments

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease hurts more than just your lungs.

If you suffer from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), your heart may be at risk. In fact, 30 percent of those with COPD will die from a cardiovascular disease. COPD is a disease of the lungs that restricts airflow. It is a group of diseases that can include chronic bronchitis and emphysema. The earlier COPD is diagnosed, the sooner it can be managed. If you have symptoms such as coughing, mucus or phlegm, trouble breathing, wheezing, or tightness in the chest you should consult your doctor. Even though COPD affects the lungs directly, your heart is in danger as well. Research has shown that COPD reduces the effectiveness of the heart's pumping.

Heart attack and stroke are more likely in the days or weeks after symptoms flare up. Flare-ups, called exacerbations, are a common occurrence with COPD that can be brought on by air pollution, a cold, or other infections. 

Medications for COPD such as inhaled beta agonists can also have a negative effect on the heart. Medications can increase the heart rate and cause arrhythmia, irregular heart rate, or increased blood pressure.

You can reduce your risk for negative effects on the heart. Reducing exacerbations will protect your heart.

  • Wash up frequently, especially during cold season, to avoid getting ill. Don’t touch your face and always cover your cough. Stay away from those who may be ill.
  • A healthy diet and regular exercise can also reduce risk for flare-ups. Eat a diet rich in produce.
  • Get regular check-ups at your doctor to monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol which will also reduce stress on your heart.
  • Smoking is the main risk factor shared by both COPD and heart disease. Quit smoking now to reduce your risk for deadly diseases and live a healthier life.

Central Florida Cardiac & Vascular Institute offers more in-depth information about COPD in our online health library. Learn how to live a full life with COPD by making lifestyle changes. Reduce your risk for heart attack and stroke by getting your COPD under control. To learn more about our hospital and services, visit us online today.

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