| | Re: I have been diagnosed with Diastolic Dysfunction
Ok here is an explanation of Diastolic Dysfunction:
The cardiac cycle is divided into 2 parts- Systole & Diastole. During Systole, the ventricles (the hearts majorpumping chambers) contract, thus ejecting blood out of the heart & into the arteries.
After the ventricles have finished contracting, they relax, and during this relaxation phase they re-fill with blood to prepare for the next contraction. This relaxation phase is called Diastole.
Sometimes, however due to various medical conditions, the ventricles become "stiff". Stiff ventricles cannot fully relax during diastole, and as a result the ventricles may not completly fill, & blood can "dam up" the body's organs (mainly the lungs).
An abnormal "stiffening" of the ventricles, and the resulting abnormal ventricular filling during diastole, is referred to as DIASTOLIC DYSFUNCTION.
When diastolic dysfunction is sufficent to produce pulmonary congestion ( thats is a damming up of blood in the lungs), diastolic heart failure is said to be present.
Some of the major causes of Diastolic Dysfunction are-
coronary artery disease &
aging amongst others.
The mainstay of treating Diastolic Dysfunction is to aggressively manage the underlying cause. Major principles of treatment include;
aggressive control of both systolic & diastolic hypertension, though often not accomplished by many doctors is critical.
and control of pulmonary congestion with diuretics.
If no underlying cause for this illness is obvious, then 3 things must be considered;
1) It is likely that undiagnosed hypertension may be a commoncause, thus carefully monitoring for hypertension may be useful.
2) Undiagnosed coronary artery disease could also be likely & a treatable cause of Diastolic Dysfunction,
3) Chronic aerobic exercise can improve the diastolic function of the heart- so an exercise programme may be useful.
Diastolic Dysfunction is a relatively "new" disorder, that is until a few years ago it was poorly recognised even by cardiologists. However it is rapidly becoming well-known & indeed is now one of the most common diagnoses flowing out of the echocardiography lab.
I hope this has helped clear a few things up & answer some of your questions,