Heart and lung are inevitably two important organs that play the main role in coordinating our body function.
Sunway Medical Centre Velocity (SMCV) planned to raise awareness of health conditions related to these two important organs and how to take care of both of the organs for healthy living in conjunction with World Lung and World Heart Day on Sept 25 and 29 this year.
Department of Statistic came out with the report last year and it revealed that lung and heart diseases were the top two causes of death in Malaysia.
A symptom of weakening of lung and heart
The uttermost catchy part is that the symptoms for both diseases may seem alike, and it is very hard to be distinguished. Nevertheless, there is one apparently symptom that signifies the impairing of both organs which is shortness of breath.
There are many problems and reasons that lead to breathlessness including allergic reactions, anxiety attacks or anaemia.
Apart from breathlessness, swelling in the legs, chest pain, dizziness and lethargy are also some severe problems that might occur.
Dr Tee Chee Hian who is a consultant cardiologist explains that to obtain the root cause of the symptom, an accurate diagnosis may need advanced testing.
The connection between heart and lung
The regular inhale and exhale of breathing is something you usually don’t notice until it doesn’t feel quite right. This is due to these two organ systems are so intertwined, both of them are always affecting each other. The close connection between the heart and lungs means that breathing problems can be caused by issues in either the heart or lungs, or both. About 60 per cent of people with heart disease also have lung disease.
The root cause of shortness of breath
The dyspnea-scientific name for shortness of breath can be caused by cardiovascular problems. This may occur anytime, during a heart attack or a pulmonary embolism, which occurs when a blood clot breaks free from a vein in the leg or pelvis and lodges in the lung.
Acute disease and chronic mostly are the cause of the shortness of breath, according to Dr Nurul.
For instance, asthma can cause chest tightness or wheezing. The serious and worse case could be a red flag for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which is bronchitis and emphysema.
It could also be a symptom of pneumonia, a lung infection or pulmonary fibrosis (scarring of the lungs). Other causes could be a tuberculosis infection, lung cancer, bronchiectasis or a fungal lung infection.
Patients can diagnose their conditions by going through non-invasive tests which are the chest x-ray or lung scans. Anyhow, some of the patients need to take up to two years to achieve an accurate diagnosis, but some of the scans may return to normal for patients that continue to face through the discomfort.
Seek medical consultation if you have the following condition:
- Unexplained shortness of breath experienced for the first time.
- Shortness of breath at rest.
- Shortness of breath accompanied by chest pain or pressure, lightheadedness or sweating.
- Worsening shortness of breath if you already have heart failure, asthma or emphysema.
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Prepared by: Andrew