Female hearts are smaller and have a lower pumping capacity than male hearts; a cardiologist discusses the causes and preventative measures for this condition in female patients. If the heart's pumping ability declines, the effects would be felt throughout the body. The brain, liver, kidneys, and muscles are not getting the oxygen and nutrient-rich blood they need. Cardiac insufficiency comes in various forms, each of which is treated differently (medical heart failure). In the case of cardiac insufficiency with reduced pumping function (systolic heart failure), the heart no longer pumps powerfully enough. The heart still pumps vigorously in cases of cardiac insufficiency with preserved pumping function, but it can't fill with enough blood because its tissues have lost their elasticity. Cardiologists then speak of diastolic heart failure.

Cardiothoracic surgeon and German Heart Foundation board member Prof. Dr. Christiane Tiefenbacher says, "Women are more probable to suffer from diastolic heart failure, i.e., a disturbance in the elasticity and thus in the filling of the heart." This is because men and women have hearts that are physically different sizes and have various pumping capacities. Heart failure is a manifestation of this problem. Because women generally have a slightly stiffer and smaller heart than men. It can't expand as much or fill up with blood as quickly. A higher pump capacity compensates for this. This anatomical fact that the heart gradually shrinks as women age becomes increasingly relevant. Reduced estrogen production during menopause is linked to elevated blood pressure and an increase in cardiac connective tissue formation. The heart continues to lose elasticity.

In addition to these risk factors, other factors contribute to the development of cardiac insufficiency in women. Women are at a heightened risk for cardiac insufficiency when exposed to certain risk elements, including but not restricted to high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes mellitus. If they appear together, their consequences are potentiated," explains the chief physician for cardiology at the Marien-Hospital Wesel. The factors mentioned are also critical concerning the risk of a heart attack. A heart attack is a typical cause of heart failure. According to the Heart Foundation's specialist, "when the heart has an infarction, heart tissue dies, and scarring occurs, which limits the heart's performance."

Since the onset of heart failure is typically slow and subtle, the condition is frequently misdiagnosed for a considerable time. It is common for the symptoms to be written off as inevitable consequences of getting older. When it comes to safety, women need to keep an eye out. The initial manifestations of cardiac insufficiency are manifested in symptoms such as shortness of breath, decreased performance, and fatigue. Edema, or water retention, is another common cause of swollen feet, according to Prof. Tiefenbacher. Everyday activities become more strenuous, such as climbing stairs, shopping, or cycling.

In women, a heart attack can be indicated by sudden symptoms like shortness of breath, fatigue, physical weakness, sleep disturbances, or even occasional back and upper abdominal pain. In many cases, the typical chest pain will not be present or will be milder than usual.

Heart failure is a serious and insidious illness that typically presents with non-specific symptoms such as shortness of breath, diminished performance, and fluid retention (most notably in the lower legs) rather than any dramatic outward signs (swollen legs, ankle edema). This poses a risk to the health of the elderly population because they may begin to accept their symptoms as inevitable due to aging. There is no time to wait before treating chronic heart failure. Heart failure ranks higher than cancer as a leading cause of death in the United States. Up to 4% of the European population suffers from heart failure. The danger heightens as one gets older. Every year, this condition claims the lives of over 40 thousand people. Prof. Tiefenbacher recommends that people who experience shortness of breath see a doctor determine whether or not a cardiac condition, such as cardiac insufficiency, is to blame. To paraphrase, "the easier it is to counteract a deterioration in a diseased heart, the earlier it is recognized and treated."


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