Researchers have discovered an important potential link between asthma and heart failure, due to an enlarged left ventricle, (called Left Ventricular Hypertrophy), which is a major risk factor for heart failure.
Current estimates show that 1 out of 12 people in the United States (around 25 million people) are living with asthma, and the number is rising.
But it’s not the first time the topic of a link between asthma and heart failure has been researched. In fact, several earlier studies have linked asthma with an increased risk of heart conditions, including heart attack, heart disease, and stroke.
Left Ventricular Hypertrophy is a condition which causes the thickening and enlargement of the left ventricle. That is the heart chamber responsible for pumping oxygen-rich blood around the body.
Although many patients with Left Ventricular Hypertrophy don’t experience any signs or symptoms, (especially in the early stages) when they do, symptoms may include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Heart palpitations
- Dizziness or fainting.
The most common cause of Left Ventricular Hypertrophy is high blood pressure. however, a condition known as Aortic Valve Stenosis is often present.
- This is a narrowing of the aortic valve which interferes with the delivery of blood from the heart to the body.
For the new study, senior author Dr. Lu Qi, of the Tulane University Obesity Research Center in New Orleans, LA and colleagues assessed the health data of 1,118 adults.
➡ All the participants completed questionnaires detailing their history of asthma from childhood and were followed up for 10 years.
➡ During the follow-up sessions, the size of the participants’ left ventricle was assessed by echocardiogram, allowing for the participant’s body size and height.
Compared with adults who did not have a history of asthma, those who did have a history of it were found to have a larger left ventricle.
Even after accounting for other risk factors for cardiovascular disease present, (age, smoking status, heart rate, and the use of blood pressure medication) the findings on the effect of Asthma remained valid.
Commenting on these results, the researchers state:
“Our data suggest that aggressive lifestyle modifications or even pharmacological treatment may be applied to people with a history of asthma, especially those also affected by high blood pressure, to lower cardiovascular risk.”
Yet, more research is needed. Those of us involved in the daily care of cardiac patients look forward to more studies to find the potential link between asthma and heart failure, heart attacks, strokes, and death.