Cardiopulmonary disease is the medical terms used to describe a diverse group of serious disorders affecting the heart and lungs. Treatment options vary depending on the type of cardiopulmonary disease present and may include changes in diet or lifestyle, use of medications issued on prescription or surgery.
The most common cardiopulmonary diseases are hypertension, stroke and coronary heart disease. Untreated, cardiopulmonary diseases can be deadly.
The heart and lungs have a very close relationship with each other, and problems involving one organ may affect the other. For example, a person suffering from coronary heart disease will have difficulty with efficient pumping of blood to oxygenate the lungs. The close link between lung function and heart can cause a number of reactions that can cause complications and may lead to medical emergencies, especially when a patient already has other serious health problems.
Types of cardiopulmonary disease
- Hypertension or high blood pressure is one of the most common types of cardiopulmonary conditions. The most common causes of high blood pressure include kidney disease, damage of the blood vessels or use of certain medications.
Many people who suffer from hypertension do not show any symptoms, although some may experience headache, dizziness or nosebleeds. Treatment for hypertension depends on its exact cause, though dietary changes and the use of prescription drugs are the most commonly recommended measures.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is characterized by difficult breathing and cause further heart problems that occur over time. The explanation is that the heart is under pressure of having to work harder than normal for the oxygenation of the lungs.
- Stroke can be caused, sometimes, by cardiopulmonary diseases. Strokes occur when there is a disturbance involving the circulation of the blood and the oxygen supply to the brain.
Symptoms often include weakness or numbness, especially on one side of the body. There may be other manifestations such as impaired vision, severe headaches and confusion. A stroke is a medical emergency and requires immediate medical evaluation. Surgery may be necessary to remove blockages that contributed to the stroke.
- Coronary heart diseases also contribute to the development of cardiovascular diseases. Coronary artery disease develops when the small blood vessels of the heart are narrowed and symptoms such as shortness of breath or chest pain appear. If the condition is not treated promptly, it can result in heart attack or death. Treatment involves the use of prescription drugs designed to treat individual symptoms, although surgery may be necessary.
- Rheumatic fever is another potential cause of cardiopulmonary diseases. This is a condition caused by a streptococcus infection in the throat that was not treated properly. Treatment of rheumatic fever begins with antibiotics for reducing and removing the infection.
Other causes of cardiopulmonary disorders
Among the possible causes that may cause cardiopulmonary diseases there are:
Symptoms of cardiopulmonary diseases
People who have cardiopulmonary diseases may experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness, bluish extremities, chest pain, hypertension, wheezing, chest pain (especially after exercise) that may radiate to the jaw or the arms, sudden sweating, anxiety and nausea or vomiting. Over time, symptoms may worsen.
Cardiopulmonary disorders may involve inflammation, which can contribute to the narrowing of the coronary arteries, respiratory infections and complications with the disease.
If a doctor suspects a cardiopulmonary disease, he or she will order tests that will examine the lung function, in order to learn more about the health of the lungs. The specialist may also recommend the following tests:
Holter monitor test
Other medical imaging studies;
All these investigations are designed to assess the functioning of the heart and lungs, to gather information that might clarify the situation and contribute to a more precise diagnosis.
Treatment options and prevention of cardiovascular diseases can include medications, dietary changes, exercise, surgery, stress management, blood pressure control, diabetes management, maintaining a normal body weight, and other lifestyle changes.
Cardiopulmonary rehabilitation can begin after the patient has undergone a major cardiopulmonary event, such as the replacement of the heart valves, heart attack, coronary stent etc. and it can be recommended in the case of patients suffering from less serious cardiovascular disease, such as angina, asthma, chronic bronchitis or emphysema.
Exercise is part of rehabilitation and includes especially cardio or aerobic exercises that help strengthen the cardiovascular system and are designed to improve its function. This way, the heart will function better and the whole body will be irrigated with oxygen-rich blood.