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Shortness of Breath and The Link To Heart Problems

Shortness of Breath and The Link To Heart Problems

Much like chest pain; shortness of breath can indicate more than just the possibility of heart attack. It actually stems from the heart-lung connection either being severed or malfunctioning. Currently, there are at least five known causes that link to heart problems.  heart-doctor-nyc

They are:

  1. Destruction of the heart muscle
  2. Weakened heart muscle
  3. Structural problems
  4. Valve problems
  5. Inflammation or infection

We will take a brief look at each of these symptom triggers.

What “Shortness of Breath” Really Means

Your heart and lungs have to work together as a two-part delivery system that is responsible for supplying your body with oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood; without it your body begins to slowly shut down vital cellular and organ functions.

Not only are your respiratory and circulatory functions linked, they also share a link to heart problems. When your heart malfunctions, the oxygenated blood cannot be adequately transferred to the body, so shortness of breath begins as a warning sign of circulatory problems.

Here’s what that symptom can indicate:

Destruction of the heart muscle­ – your heart has to be able to contract at a certain rhythm, strength, and rate to deliver oxygenated blood to your body. If artery restriction or blood clot interferes with the contraction, it will impair blood flow, cause shortness of breath, and possibly lead to cardiac muscle death.

Weakened heart muscle – diseases that weaken the muscle, or cardiomyopathies, cause the heart muscle to become enlarged or stiffen. Heart contractions can no longer be well-coordinated, which causes problems with blood flow and shortness of breath.

Structural problems – these are also referred to as congenital heart defects, because they’re most likely present from birth. Your heart starts out as a tube inside your chest. As you develop in utero, that tube becomes a four-chambered pump. In some cases, a problem develops during this transition that can affect your heart function.

Valve problems – can cause a back flow of blood into the lungs.

Inflammation or infection – usually enters through the lining of your heart muscle leading to a buildup of fluid that compresses and constricts your heart.

While all of these conditions require invasive medical treatment; all roads do not lead to a heart attack. That is why it is important to understand the various symptomatic triggers that are linked to heart problems.

Dr. Seldon, a Heart Doctor and Cardiologist in New York City, offers same day appointments and all testing is done on site. Call us at (212) 367-8000.



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