News Flash > Cardiovascular Health


Lung Disease Impacts Heart Early On

Reported January 25, 2010

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- A new study found the heart's ability to pump effectively is diminished among people with a common lung disease, even if they don't have symptoms.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the fourth leading cause of death in the US, and is strongly associated with smoking.

"Heart failure caused by lung disease is well documented in patients with severe COPD, but was not thought to occur in patients with mild COPD," Graham Barr, M.D., Dr. PH., assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology at Columbia University Medical Center and lead author was quoted as saying. "We found that there appears to be a linear relationship between lung function and heart function, and even a small hit to the lungs negatively affects heart function as well."



Researchers say they now have evidence that even mild COPD may have important health implications beyond the lungs, and changes in the heart caused by COPD occur much earlier than previously thought.

"These results raise the intriguing possibility that treating lung disease may, in the future, improve heart function," Dr. Barr was quoted as saying.

One in five Americans over the age of 45 has COPD, but as many as half may not even be aware of it.

SOURCE: New England Journal of Medicine, January 2010