How to protect yourself against heart failure

Heart failure derailed: How to protect yourself

Heart failure is one of the most common diseases in western industrialized countries. In this country, the number of people affected is estimated at two to three million. The disease cannot be cured, but it can be treated. But heart failure is derailed for many of those affected. Certain measures can prevent this.

At a Heart failureAlso known as heart failure, the heart can no longer pump enough blood around the body. The disease accounts for hundreds of thousands of hospital admissions each year. In many cases, hospitalization can be avoided.

This is how a derailment reports itself

Like the German Heart Foundation in a current one Embassy explains, heralds worsening heart failure with symptoms such as significant weight gain, shortness of breath or shortness of breath On. According to experts, the disease can progress dramatically to the emergency room: Every year around 465,000 patients are admitted to hospital because their heart failure has derailed.

The causes are many, but in many cases hospitalization can be avoided. “Cardiac decompensation, ie a derailment due to heart failure, is often the result of an additional event,” explains Prof. Dr. med. Thomas Voigtländer, deputy chairman of the board of the German Heart Foundation. These can be cardiac arrhythmias, a sudden increase in blood pressure or infectious diseases such as flu or COVID-19, adds the medical director of the Agaplesion Bethanien Hospital at the Cardioangiological Center Bethanien (CCB) Frankfurt am Main. “Mistakes in taking medication are often the cause of the worsening of the disease,” explains the cardiologist.

Coronaviruses attack the heart

There are several reasons why both flu and coronavirus can be dangerous for heart patients. On the one hand, these viruses not only stay in the airways, but spread throughout the body and can also attack the heart. On the other hand, the lungs in patients with heart failure are particularly vulnerable.

“If the heart is weak, blood can return to the lungs due to the reduced pumping capacity,” says Voigtländer. This makes the organ more susceptible to infection, including infection with the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Such a worldwide in the trade magazine “Die Lancet Respiratory Medicine“A published study evaluating the COVID-19 courses of more than 10,000 patients in 920 clinics found that people with heart failure are at significantly higher risk of severe disease and require ventilation much more frequently than people without heart failure. Pre-existing heart disease.

Look out for possible warning signs

In order to avoid a derailment of the heart failure and thus a hospital stay, patients with heart failure should consistently take their medication and watch out for possible warning signs. For example, it is important that people regularly check their weight and measure their blood pressure to prevent blood pressure crises.

Since COVID-19 infection can lead to serious illness in heart patients, vaccination against influenza is even more important during the pandemic than before. This is especially true for risk groups. “We urgently recommend that patients with cardiovascular diseases be vaccinated against influenza and pneumococci,” says Voigtländer. To protect against infection with the corona virus, the so-called AHA + L recommendations also apply, for example for healthy people:

  • Keep your distance: Whenever possible, a minimum distance of 1.50 meters from other people is recommended.
  • Observe hygiene regulations: This includes, in particular, thorough hand washing and sneezing and coughing in the armpit.
  • Wear masks for everyday use: This recommendation applies wherever you cannot keep a sufficient distance from others, for example in public transport and buildings.
  • Ventilation: Regular ventilation can be an additional measure to reduce the viral load indoors.

Author and source information

This text meets the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current examinations and has been checked by medical professionals.


  • German Heart Foundation: Derailment of heart failure: How those affected can protect themselves (Access: October 18, 2020), German Heart Foundation
  • Karagiannidis C et al .: Case Characteristics, Resource Use, and Outcomes of 10 021 Patients with COVID-19 Enrolled in 920 German Hospitals: An Observational Study; in: The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, (done: online: 07/28/2020 and in: Volume 8, Issue 9, P853-862, on 09/01/2020), Die Lancet Respiratory Medicine

Important note:
This article is for general guidance only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. It cannot replace a doctor’s visit.

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