Danger to life: This heart disease is often mistaken for asthma by the doctor

Danger to life: This heart disease is often mistaken for asthma by the doctor

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Symptoms similar to asthma may indicate heart disease

Do some people with heart disease die unnecessarily because the disease is mistaken for asthma? The lives of patients with heart failure actually appear to be at risk because, according to new research, doctors often confuse the symptoms of heart failure with asthma.

A recent study by the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine found that people with heart failure are at an increased risk of premature death because their illness is mistaken for common asthma symptoms. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "Journal of the American College of Cardiology".

Even some doctors confuse the symptoms

The signs that your heart is on the brink are similar to those of an asthma attack, the researchers report. The symptoms of heart failure and asthma are so similar that the condition of the patient is often misdiagnosed. However, there are subtle differences that some doctors apparently cannot recognize. Heart failure can be fatal if left untreated. Today, more and more young people are suffering from heart failure. In the UK alone, more than 100,000 people are hospitalized each year due to heart attacks and over 900,000 people in the UK are currently living with heart failure. The current study found that more and more people are dying from heart failure, especially people under the age of 65.

What are the symptoms?

Heart failure and asthma have similar symptoms, but there are important differences that physicians and the general public should be aware of. The so-called wheezing, which is typical for asthma, occurs more frequently during the day with this disease. It is often triggered by the weather or movement. With heart failure, wheezing occurs more often at night. There are several other symptoms that indicate heart failure. These include, for example, shortness of breath or wheezing (especially when lying down at night), swelling in the legs, ankles and feet, a fast and irregular heartbeat and a persistent cough. In contrast, asthma is characterized primarily by symptoms such as coughing during exercise, exercise and laughing, general breathing difficulties, shortness of breath and wheezing.

Example of a misdiagnosis of asthma

The New York Post reported a case in which an 11-year-old girl from Illinois in the United States was diagnosed with asthma last year. After a short time, however, the patient became so sick that she could no longer breathe without the support of an oxygen tank while sleeping. Doctors finally ran additional tests and found that the patient's heart was only pumping at 12 percent effectiveness. It quickly became clear that her heart would fail completely if the twelve-year-old did not get a heart transplant. It then only took seven weeks before the girl got a new heart and was able to breathe normally again.

If symptoms are noticeable, seek medical help

Because the symptoms of both diseases are so similar, people should be extra careful. If you notice typical symptoms of asthma, you should have a thorough examination to rule out a possible heart failure, which in the worst case can even lead to your death. (as)

Author and source information

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