(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
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