A recent study has revealed that while the number of people diagnosed with heart failure each year is unchanged the kind of heart failure they are diagnosed with has changed over the past few decades.
Close to 5 million Americans are considered to be at a risk for heart failure. This is often a collection of symptoms including shortness of breath, fluid retention and exercise intolerance. These are the symptoms that occur when the heart is impaired.
Scientists have identified two types of heart failure with the help of the echocardiogram. One is the kind where the heart has a reduced pumping function, called as systolic heart failure and the other is when the heart has a reduced relaxing function, called diastolic heart failure.
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic led by Margaret Redfield, looked at 4,596 patients diagnosed with heart failure at the Mayo Clinic hospitals in Minnesota between 1987 and 2001. The results of the research have been published in the July 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. It was found that during those years, the number of patients with diastolic heart failure rose from 38 to 54 percent and the prevalence of diseases that cause diastolic heart failure, such as hypertension and diabetes, increased as well.
Redfield attributed this to the many new therapies for systolic heart failure, including drugs, devices, and surgical procedures. She suggested that equal effort be focused on solutions for the diastolic half of the heart failure epidemic.