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brittalisse
@brittalisse

Posts: 11
Joined: Jul 14, 2011

Stiff Heart

Posted by @brittalisse, Sep 21, 2017

Hi there –

My mother (76 yrs) is at Mayo Clinic trying to figure out what is causing her shortness of breath. She has Parkinson’s, but we didn’t think that was the cause. We found out that she has a “stiff heart” and will be taking lasiks to remove fluid. I’m trying to learn more – anyone have experience with this?

Thanks and well wishes,

Britt

REPLY

this reply is from a “layman”. my heart was beating at 130 when sitting and relaxed. needed medicines to correct this. was told by my doctor: when the heart beats that fast that constantly it will become stiff at a faster pace from the overuse and it will lead to a sooner demise. the medications work. hope i have presented this accurately. good luck.

Hi @brittalisse,

Here’s some basic information about heart failure to get you started: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-failure/basics/causes/con-20029801

I’d encourage you to view, and if you wish, join this conversation about stiff heart on Connect, https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/stiff-heart-diastolic-heart-failure/. I’m also tagging @pfazenbaker @evelyn247 @cynaburst and @bjanderson as they have written about it, and will certainly have more insight for you.

Liked by Solo Act

Clinical term for that is diastolic dysfunction, also known as heart failure. There is no cure. It basically means her body is wearing out. But people can live a long time — many years — with heart failure, though (I have it, my mother had it, my aunt had it). “Ejection fraction” is a key indicator about severity and prognosis, but a doctor will need to tell you her number and explain it to both of you. They can probably also tell you what stage she’s in, 1-4.

Research Hawthorn (berries and leaves, not just one or the other — Heart Care is one brand). Exercise — walking? — can help slow the progression if she’s able. Good nutrition is important, too, but that’s true for just about anything.

I beg to differ @soloact with your simplistic assertion that diastolic dysfunction is just plain heart failure. People who read that might accept it on faith and use it to make judgments about their health care choices and their chances of living on. My cardiologist told me something I believe is quite different. I developed atrial fibulation a few years ago. In a detailed discussion with my cardiologist last year, he told me that “a-fib is a classical definition of diastolic dysfunction.” Your advice to @brittalisse to discuss the whole situation with a cardiologist is good advice. Not so with the suggestion that she treat herself with some plant-derived supplements.

I’m going merely by what my doctors have told me. I’m not a doctor, so I hope the moderator will delete my post (please) if I overstepped my boundaries or said something misleading.

I didn’t find anything misleading. I have diastolic HF also and we are all responsible for our own healthcare. I wouldn’t use any herbs,etc. before checking with my doctor. Hopefully, that’s a given and you only made a suggestion.

@predictable

I beg to differ @soloact with your simplistic assertion that diastolic dysfunction is just plain heart failure. People who read that might accept it on faith and use it to make judgments about their health care choices and their chances of living on. My cardiologist told me something I believe is quite different. I developed atrial fibulation a few years ago. In a detailed discussion with my cardiologist last year, he told me that “a-fib is a classical definition of diastolic dysfunction.” Your advice to @brittalisse to discuss the whole situation with a cardiologist is good advice. Not so with the suggestion that she treat herself with some plant-derived supplements.

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https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2011/07/death-risk-for-diastolic-dysfunction/

@predictable

I beg to differ @soloact with your simplistic assertion that diastolic dysfunction is just plain heart failure. People who read that might accept it on faith and use it to make judgments about their health care choices and their chances of living on. My cardiologist told me something I believe is quite different. I developed atrial fibulation a few years ago. In a detailed discussion with my cardiologist last year, he told me that “a-fib is a classical definition of diastolic dysfunction.” Your advice to @brittalisse to discuss the whole situation with a cardiologist is good advice. Not so with the suggestion that she treat herself with some plant-derived supplements.

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This research report was published in March 2011. The research was based on patient records through 2005. It made no reference to atrial fibrillation, which was not a criterion for selection of patient records to include in the study.

@predictable

I beg to differ @soloact with your simplistic assertion that diastolic dysfunction is just plain heart failure. People who read that might accept it on faith and use it to make judgments about their health care choices and their chances of living on. My cardiologist told me something I believe is quite different. I developed atrial fibulation a few years ago. In a detailed discussion with my cardiologist last year, he told me that “a-fib is a classical definition of diastolic dysfunction.” Your advice to @brittalisse to discuss the whole situation with a cardiologist is good advice. Not so with the suggestion that she treat herself with some plant-derived supplements.

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My point was that diastolic dysfunction and atrial fib are not the same thing and that diastolic dysfunction is aka as heart failure and is serious. That was what I’d said that you’d questioned. But let’s just drop it, please.

@predictable

I beg to differ @soloact with your simplistic assertion that diastolic dysfunction is just plain heart failure. People who read that might accept it on faith and use it to make judgments about their health care choices and their chances of living on. My cardiologist told me something I believe is quite different. I developed atrial fibulation a few years ago. In a detailed discussion with my cardiologist last year, he told me that “a-fib is a classical definition of diastolic dysfunction.” Your advice to @brittalisse to discuss the whole situation with a cardiologist is good advice. Not so with the suggestion that she treat herself with some plant-derived supplements.

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It’s important that statements here are capable of being understood by the others who come to read them. What you said before and repeat now is at odds with what my cardiologist declared. To repeat, he said a-fib is the very definition of diastolic dysfunction. You responded by citing a research report that is based on data that are 12+ years old and written over six years ago. Members who read our discussion need to be advised to ask their own cardiologist whether testing and treatment technology has advanced in the last six years and whether their diagnosis of diastolic dysfunction is the equivalent of heart failure as you insist.

@soloact and @predictable, your disagreement underlines how complicated matters of heart health can be. When explaining health issues in laymen’s term, doctors most often phrase things in terms specific to the case of the patient in front of them. Which is why it is important that information gathered from fellow patients on Connect be discussed with one’s own health care professionals, as stated in the Connect disclaimer https://connect.mayoclinic.org/disclaimer/

While disagreement is fine in an online community, respect is imperative. My understanding is that both of you wish to support others and you were sharing your experiences as well as making suggestions for further research and not declarations of what one should or shouldn’t do. I appreciate your following the Community Guidelines https://connect.mayoclinic.org/community-guidelines/

Soloact, you are correct that diastolic dysfunction is classified as heart failure. It is one of 4 types of heart failure:
– Left-sided heart failure: Fluid may back up in your lungs, causing shortness of breath.
– Right-sided heart failure: Fluid may back up into your abdomen, legs and feet, causing swelling.
– Systolic heart failure: The left ventricle can’t contract vigorously, indicating a pumping problem.
– Diastolic heart failure (also called heart failure with preserved ejection fraction): The left ventricle can’t relax or fill fully, indicating a filling problem.

Atrial fibrillation is an irregular and often rapid heart rate that can increase your risk of stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. A-fib itself is not heart failure, as Soloact pointed out. Predictable, it is possible that Britt’s mom has a-fib as well as heart failure. This is a good question to ask one’s provider as the presence of a-fib may influence the individualized treatment plan.

@brittalisse – the terms and definitions mentioned in this discussion lead to great questions that you may wish to ask your mom’s cardiologist as you unravel the specifics of your mother’s diagnosis and plans for treatment. Do you know what type of heart failure she is experiencing? What are the next steps in your mom’s care?

@brittalisse, I’d like to bring Teresa (@hopeful33250) into this discussion. Like your mom, she has Parkinson’s coupled with heart issues.

Hello @brittalisse,

I remember us discussing your mom’s breathing problems in our Parkinson’s discussion group. I also have a Parkinson’s disorder as well as aortic insufficiency, left bundle branch block and diastolic dysfunction. Even with all of this background, I am not always sure of what symptoms relate to what disorder – it can be confusing to say the least!

Regarding the diastolic dysfunction (“DD”), I understand that it is a mild form of heart failure – if there are no other symptoms such as edema in the extremities or around the heart or lungs. This seems to be my case at present. While I have had DD for a number of years, there is no leg, ankle or feet swelling, however, I do have some accumulation of fluid at night in my chest. I still have a strong ejection fraction – so it all looks good on paper 🙂

You don’t mention your mom’s age nor her physical activity level but in my own case, I’ve learned that physical activity is important for both the Parkinson’s as well as the heart issues. While I’m certainly not able to do aerobic work-outs anymore, I do attend PD exercises classes (PD dance classes can all be done in a chair) and I’ve ordered some PD dance DVDs as well as other PD exercise DVDs. Tai-Chi is also offered and is very, very, very good for PD. It helps with memory, range of motion, and lots of other things. I would encourage you to attend some of these classes with your mom (as many caregivers do) as it will benefit both of you.

It is easy to get overwhelmed when you are dealing with a multitude of health problems that involve different body systems, but always remember that exercise, exercise, exercise is key to keeping flexible and healthy as we age, no matter what our medical paperwork says about us. It is important to realize that we each have some control over our health!

Teresa

@hopeful33250

Hello @brittalisse,

I remember us discussing your mom’s breathing problems in our Parkinson’s discussion group. I also have a Parkinson’s disorder as well as aortic insufficiency, left bundle branch block and diastolic dysfunction. Even with all of this background, I am not always sure of what symptoms relate to what disorder – it can be confusing to say the least!

Regarding the diastolic dysfunction (“DD”), I understand that it is a mild form of heart failure – if there are no other symptoms such as edema in the extremities or around the heart or lungs. This seems to be my case at present. While I have had DD for a number of years, there is no leg, ankle or feet swelling, however, I do have some accumulation of fluid at night in my chest. I still have a strong ejection fraction – so it all looks good on paper 🙂

You don’t mention your mom’s age nor her physical activity level but in my own case, I’ve learned that physical activity is important for both the Parkinson’s as well as the heart issues. While I’m certainly not able to do aerobic work-outs anymore, I do attend PD exercises classes (PD dance classes can all be done in a chair) and I’ve ordered some PD dance DVDs as well as other PD exercise DVDs. Tai-Chi is also offered and is very, very, very good for PD. It helps with memory, range of motion, and lots of other things. I would encourage you to attend some of these classes with your mom (as many caregivers do) as it will benefit both of you.

It is easy to get overwhelmed when you are dealing with a multitude of health problems that involve different body systems, but always remember that exercise, exercise, exercise is key to keeping flexible and healthy as we age, no matter what our medical paperwork says about us. It is important to realize that we each have some control over our health!

Teresa

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I’m glad to hear that you’ve had diastolic dysfunction for “a number of years.” I was diagnosed last year, so knowing that yours hasn’t progress far in a few years is encouraging.

@hopeful33250

Hello @brittalisse,

I remember us discussing your mom’s breathing problems in our Parkinson’s discussion group. I also have a Parkinson’s disorder as well as aortic insufficiency, left bundle branch block and diastolic dysfunction. Even with all of this background, I am not always sure of what symptoms relate to what disorder – it can be confusing to say the least!

Regarding the diastolic dysfunction (“DD”), I understand that it is a mild form of heart failure – if there are no other symptoms such as edema in the extremities or around the heart or lungs. This seems to be my case at present. While I have had DD for a number of years, there is no leg, ankle or feet swelling, however, I do have some accumulation of fluid at night in my chest. I still have a strong ejection fraction – so it all looks good on paper 🙂

You don’t mention your mom’s age nor her physical activity level but in my own case, I’ve learned that physical activity is important for both the Parkinson’s as well as the heart issues. While I’m certainly not able to do aerobic work-outs anymore, I do attend PD exercises classes (PD dance classes can all be done in a chair) and I’ve ordered some PD dance DVDs as well as other PD exercise DVDs. Tai-Chi is also offered and is very, very, very good for PD. It helps with memory, range of motion, and lots of other things. I would encourage you to attend some of these classes with your mom (as many caregivers do) as it will benefit both of you.

It is easy to get overwhelmed when you are dealing with a multitude of health problems that involve different body systems, but always remember that exercise, exercise, exercise is key to keeping flexible and healthy as we age, no matter what our medical paperwork says about us. It is important to realize that we each have some control over our health!

Teresa

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@soloact

Yes, my diastolic dysfunction was diagnosed 15 plus years ago and my last echo showed an ejection faction of 65 which is pretty good. That all could change as the valve begins to leak more, but it goes to show that this diagnosis alone should not be frightening in and of itself unless other symptoms come up, then of course you should contact your doc ASAP.

I wish you well!

Teresa

Liked by Solo Act

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