Dr. Chris Lane PATIENT COMMUNICATION PLATFORM
Shortness of breath is a common feature of both heart failure and COPD. Complicating matters further is the fact that many patients with COPD will have heart failure and vice versa. So oftentimes it’s really challenging for the physician and for the patient to know whether their dysthymia is due to heart failure, COPD or both.
Many patients with COPD also have heart disease. It’s estimated that about four in ten COPD patients have a concomitant heart failure disorder. And both of these conditions cause shortness of breath, so diagnostically it may be very hard for you and your doctors to separate out COPD from heart failure—what’s causing what.
Several conditions require an evaluation cardiogenetic. First, different types of cardiomyopathy, or heart muscle disorders. These include hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, some forms of familial cardiomyopathies, and arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy.
There are also some electric problems of the heart that require an evaluation. These include Brugada syndrome, long QT syndrome among other arrhythmic problems, and also some forms of familial sudden death. There are also some cholesterol problems that need evaluation, as well as some aortic problems.
Often people with atrial fibrillation want to know: can they lead a normal life and what does that entail? Is their life over, the way they know it? And really it’s actually the opposite, we encourage people to carry on with their usual activities. We want people to stay active and do the things that they enjoy. And the goals of management are to actually promote ongoing quality of life and symptom management.
People often ask: what does it mean to live well with atrial fibrillation? They have this new diagnosis, it’s very scary, they have these new symptoms, and really what it means is ensuring people are carrying on with lifestyle modifications that include diet, exercise, keeping a healthy weight, reducing things like alcohol, smoking cessation, all things that compound to influence other chronic conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes for example.