Heart and lung relationship

Pulmonary heart disease: The heart-lung interaction and its impact on patient phenotypes

heart and lung relationship

The lungs are a pair of elastic, spongy organs used in breathing. In humans the They are located just behind, and to either side of, the heart. They extend. The heart and lungs work together to make sure the body has the oxygen-rich blood it needs to function properly. Some breathing problems are a sign that something is wrong with your heart.

You ride elevators and escalators instead of taking the stairs and start parking close to wherever you're going to avoid feeling winded," says Dr.

heart and lung relationship

As a result, you might not realize that your gradually worsening breathing problems may be COPD. Even physicians may not recognize COPD symptoms, which is why the disease is under diagnosed, particularly among women. It measures how much and how quickly you can move air in and out of your lungs.

But this simple tool available in most medical practices is underused by primary care pro-viders and other doctors who don't specialize in lung diseases.

A common lung condition that often overlaps with heart disease - Harvard Health

If you have heart disease and are a current or former smoker, ask your doctor about a spirometry test, advises Dr. Because around one in five people with COPD has never smoked, you should also ask about getting tested if you have COPD symptoms see boxlive or lived with a smoker, or have a family history of lung disease.

Symptoms of COPD An ongoing cough or a cough that produces thick, stringy mucus phlegmwhich may be clear or yellowish Frequent chest infections Shortness of breath, especially with activity Wheezing a whistling, squeaky sound during breathing Chest tightness Some cardiovascular drugs can affect the lungs, and certain COPD medications can stress the heart.

For example, beta blockers such as atenolol Tenormin and metoprolol Lopressorwhich slow down the heart, are often pre-scribed to people who've had a heart attack or heart failure and sometimes for other cardiac conditions such as high blood pressure. These drugs may constrict the muscles surrounding the airways in the lungs, making breathing more difficult. But while beta blockers sometimes exacerbate asthma, they appear to be safe for most people with COPD.

What's the Connection? Your Heart Can Affect Your Breathing

Inhaled drugs that relax the muscles around the airways, known as bronchodilators, are a mainstay of COPD therapy. These medications, which include selective beta-2 agonists such as salmeterol Serevent Diskus and anticho-linergics such ipratropium Atrovent can boost the heart rate and sometimes trigger abnormal heart rhythms arrhythmias.

  • Pulmonary heart disease: The heart-lung interaction and its impact on patient phenotypes

But they're still considered reasonably safe for people with heart disease. Years of experience in people with COPD have proven them to be safe and effective when used at the right dose and timing, says Dr. Keeping COPD symptoms under control with bronchodilators is the best way to protect your heart.

The low oxy-gen levels that occur during a COPD flare-up puts additional stress on the heart, boosting the risk of a heart attack over the following weeks. Rehab for your lungs Just as people with heart disease can benefit from cardiac rehabilitation, people with moderate or severe COPD may benefit from pulmonary rehabilitation, a multifaceted program of exercise, education, and other therapies that can help ease breathlessness and make it easier to do everyday activities.

A common lung condition that often overlaps with heart disease

That, in turn, helps you breathe more easily, which improves your quality of life. Lung damage in COPD Inside the lungs, the airways bronchi or bronchial tubes branch into smaller, thinner tubes bronchioles.

These tubes end in bunches of tiny round air sacs called alveoli. The alveoli and capillaries both have very thin walls, which allow the oxygen to pass from the alveoli to the blood. The capillaries then connect to larger blood vessels, called veins, which bring the oxygenated blood from the lungs to the heart.

The largest veins that do this work are called the pulmonary veins, and they connect directly to the heart. Breathing and Respiration Sometimes we use the terms breathing and respiration to mean the same thing, but they actually are distinct processes.

heart and lung relationship

Breathing is the process of moving oxygen-rich air into and out of the lungs. Respiration refers to how the cells of the body use oxygen to create energy and how they exhale carbon dioxide that is a waste product of this process.

The lungs have to work continuously because the body cells are constantly using up oxygen and producing carbon dioxide.

heart and lung relationship

Unlike the heart, the lungs have no muscle tissue. Instead, muscles in the rib cage and the diaphragm do all the work of lifting the ribs upward and outward to let the air in, and then relaxing to force the air out.

heart and lung relationship

Gas Exchange Why are oxygen and carbon dioxide such important gasses? All cells of the body need energy to do their work. They get energy by combining sugars or other food materials with oxygen.

heart and lung relationship

This chemical reaction is something like burning. Inside the body cells the chemical reaction gives off heat and other forms of energy. This energy provides the power we need to talk and move and think.

When a fire burns, carbon dioxide is formed. When a body cell combines sugar with oxygen to get energy, carbon dioxide is formed there, too. But too much carbon dioxide could poison a cell.

They need some way to get rid of carbon dioxide. The blood brings oxygen to the body cells and takes away their carbon dioxide. The blood that travels back to the heart and lungs is dark red.