Is there a Connection Between Asthma and Heart Attack?
Recent studies have shown that people with asthma are at 70% higher risk of having a heart attack than people without asthma. This makes keeping your asthma under control more important than ever because it will not only make it easier for you to breathe but will help your heart health. Research also shows that people with asthma are also more likely to have a stroke.
It is not fully understood what the connection is, but it’s thought that it is related to people with asthma having chronic inflammation since both asthma and heart disease are tied to inflammation. The connection may also be due to people not recognizing the difference between cardiac and asthma symptoms. Asthma can often cause chest pain and tightness so it’s important to take these symptoms seriously in case they are actually symptoms of a heart attack, especially in older patients.
Asthma in Seniors Often Goes Untreated
Diagnosing asthma in older adults can sometimes be hard because of the other chronic conditions the elderly tend to have. This leads to many older patients going undiagnosed and reduces their quality of life. It can even lead to premature death.
The most common symptoms of asthma in seniors is chronic coughing, having difficulty breathing, coughing up phlegm, and wheezing. These symptoms can easily be confused with other conditions so it may not be apparent that the patient has asthma. Untreated asthma not only impacts respiratory health but increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Heart Attack Symptoms vs Asthma Symptoms
Heart attacks happen when the blood flow to the heart is blocked, usually by a buildup of cholesterol or fat. When your heart doesn’t receive enough blood, it can become damaged and the tissue starts to die. If it isn’t treated right away, a heart attack can lead to death.
When most people picture a heart attack, they picture someone clutching their chest in pain. While heart attacks can be painful, some symptoms are more subtle.Symptoms of a Heart Attack
- Chest pain, pressure, or tightness
- Aching sensation in the chest
- Indigestion, heartburn, or stomach pain
- Shortness of breath
- Clammy skin
- Coughing or wheezing
- Pain that feels like it’s spreading from your chest to your left arm, both arms, jaw, neck, or back
Not everyone experiences heart attacks the same way. Women in particular tend to have different symptoms than men, including shortness of breath, feeling sick, vomiting, and having jaw or back pain.
Asthma is a lung condition that causes breathing problems. Some people with asthma may have persistent symptoms whilst others will only have an occasional flare up. You may be born with asthma, develop it in childhood, or suddenly get it later in life.
- Chest tightness
- Trouble breathing
When the symptoms of asthma come on suddenly and are more intense, you may be experiencing an asthma attack. During an asthma attack, many people use devices called inhalers to help them breathe.
People who consistently monitor and treat their asthma are at a reduced risk of a heart attack. If you have asthma, it’s important to take your medications as prescribed by your GP to enhance your quality of life and promote your cardiac health.