Cardiosclerosis is a pathology accompanied by the growth and replacement of myocardial connective tissue with subsequent scarring and impaired functioning of the heart muscle.
Such changes can lead to the development of various diseases, or end in death. Cardio sclerosis is most susceptible to the elderly and patients with a history of CVD.
When the first alarming symptoms of the disease appear, you should consult a cardiologist.
What it is?
Cardiac sclerosis is the pathology of the heart, in which the proliferation of connective scar tissue of the myocardium occurs, followed by the replacement of muscle fibers. This entails the deformation of the heart snorts - valves.
Pathological foci are formed at the site of myocardial fiber death. As a result of this process, compensatory hypertrophy of the myocardium develops first, and then cardiac dilatation, accompanied by the development of relative valvular insufficiency. Cardiosclerosis often develops on the background of atherosclerotic disease, ischemic heart disease, myocarditis and myocardial dystrophy.
In the presence of inflammatory processes in the myocardium, this pathology can develop, regardless of the age of the patient. With pathologies of the cardiovascular system, it occurs mainly in the elderly.
In cardiology, the following types of cardiosclerosis are distinguished:
- Atherosclerotic. Such cardiosclerosis develops and progresses against the background of CHD. The process of formation of cholesterol plaques and the blockage of the vascular lumen with their subsequent narrowing may continue for several years. Due to impaired blood circulation, healthy tissues are gradually replaced by connective tissue, which leads to the formation of scars.
- Primary or congenital. The disease develops against the background of the patient having systemic diseases affecting the connective tissues. Such pathologies may be hereditary, or they may arise in the period of intrauterine development of the fetus.
- Post-infarction, which develops after a patient suffered a myocardial infarction. The resulting scars significantly complicate the work of the heart muscle.
- Myocarditis. Such cardiosclerosis develops under the influence of pathologies that can have a negative effect on the heart - tonsillitis, tonsillitis, sinusitis, sinusitis, etc.
Classification according to the degree of symptoms of cardiosclerosis divides it into:
- focal, for which a characteristic feature is the formation of "islands" of scar tissue, which may have different sizes, and violate the contractile activity of the heart;
- diffuse, accompanied by the gradual growth of a specific area in the form of a continuous scar.
Causes of development
Before scarring of the myocardium, its cells are destroyed. Such a process can be triggered by:
- Atherosclerosis of the heart vessels. Constantly impaired blood circulation in the myocardial tissues sooner or later leads to its dystrophy. It is precisely the loss of its structure and subsequent destruction that gives rise to the formation of scars.
- Ischemic heart disease. This disease has a close relationship with atherosclerosis, but it is characterized by damage to the coronary arteries. In comparison with atherosclerotic etiology, the ischemic genesis of cardiosclerosis is more intense manifestation of symptoms.
- Myocardial infarction, during which part of the heart muscle dies, and a scar is formed at the site of the dead cells.
- Myocarditis - an inflammatory process that affects the heart tissue. In the locations of foci of inflammation begins the formation of scar areas.
- Cardiomyopathy or cardiodystrophy. These diseases provoke various changes in the heart: hypertrophy (increase), compression, expansion. All these processes disrupt the nutrition of the heart, causing the death of cardiomyocytes with the further development of sclerosis.
- Malignant arterial hypertension. Because of the constantly increased blood pressure on the heart, an excessive, excessive load is created.
- Diabetes mellitus With this endocrine disease, the cells of the whole body suffer from oxygen starvation. As a result, development of dystrophy occurs, then cardiomyocyte destruction and hardening.
A person who has had any of these diseases throughout their lives is automatically at risk. This means that cardiosclerosis can develop at any time in life, even if the predisposing pathology has long been cured.
Symptoms and first signs
At the very beginning, the disease does not make itself felt, but as the patient progresses, the patient displays the first warning signs in the form:
- shortness of breath, which at first occurs only during exercise, and then even at rest;
- heart murmurs;
- decrease in working capacity;
- night cough;
- chest pains;
- blanching of the skin;
- cold hands and feet;
- faint or syncope;
- increased sweating.
If arrhythmia and heart failure occur, this is a sign of the rapid progression of cardiosclerosis. This disease is considered one of the most severe lesions of the cardiovascular system. If untreated, pathology can provoke serious complications, and sometimes even lead to death.
In this regard, the manifestation of the previously considered symptoms should immediately contact a cardiologist.
Laboratory blood tests are not considered an informative method of research, since collagen formations in the myocardial area do not affect blood parameters in any way. But it is necessary to carry out such tests in order to ascertain the possible cause of the pathological process.
Among the instrumental diagnostic methods for suspected cardiosclerosis, the diagnostic value has the following results:
- Electrocardiography. The procedure helps to determine in which part of the heart the growth of connective tissue structures occurred. Based on these results, the doctor will be able to identify the presence of a pathological focus, which will give him the opportunity to prescribe the necessary further treatment.
- Echocardiography (ultrasound of the heart). This is the most informative diagnostic method used in cardiosclerosis. In color photographs, one can clearly see the overgrown tissues, determine their size and exact location. Most often resort to conducting surface echocardiography, during which the sensor is placed on the skin of the chest in the projection of the heart. Thus, on the screen of the ultrasound machine appears a clear color picture, which is a careful reading of information.
- Scintigraphy This diagnostic manipulation is distinguished by its high cost; therefore, it is not particularly popular in Russia. The essence of the method: the patient is injected with radioisotopes made on the basis of thallium. Their distribution in the heart is judged on the degree of its defeat. In the presence of areas where the isotope is absent, they speak of impaired blood circulation in a specific part of the myocardium, which, in turn, may be a sign of cardiosclerosis. Scintigraphy is completely safe for health, but it is not a mandatory diagnostic procedure.
Having identified the pathology, the doctor can proceed to the main stage - its treatment.
Untreated cardiosclerosis is fraught with serious complications. In particular, it is possible to develop acute heart failure, ventricular fibrillation, thromboembolism, rupture of the aneurysm of the left cardiac ventricle.
In order to avoid such complications, it is necessary to seek help from a doctor in time and pass the diagnosis prescribed for them. If there is an abnormal heartbeat, surgery is possible, if there is such a need. Anticoagulants may also be prescribed (for example, warfarin), but such therapy requires regular evaluation of laboratory blood parameters.
Treatment of cardiosclerosis
The only and completely effective method of getting rid of cardiosclerosis does not exist. First of all, it concerns medication. There are no such drugs that would contribute to the resorption of scars, and would restore healthy heart cells in their place. Therefore, the conservative treatment of cardiosclerosis lasts, without exaggeration, a lifetime.
Basic therapy is carried out by a cardiologist. But if the patient has complications of the disease, then specialists of other profiles may also be involved.
During the examination, the patient is in the hospital. After the relative stabilization of his condition, he is transferred to outpatient treatment. In further therapy symptomatic and supportive.
Treatment of cardiosclerosis is aimed at:
- elimination of the root causes of pathology;
- exclusion of the effect of provoking factors on the body;
- arresting symptoms of heart failure;
- prevention of complications;
- preserving the patient’s ability to work and maintaining his overall quality of life.
To achieve such goals it is necessary to:
- cardiac surgery;
- palliative surgery;
- diet therapy;
- leading a good lifestyle.
The choice of medications for cardiosclerosis depends on the severity of CHF and the intensity of other symptoms. The purpose of specific medical preparations and the determination of their dosage is the cardiologist's task, which he decides on the basis of the obtained results of the patient's examination.
Self-treatment in this case is categorically unacceptable, and can have very serious consequences. Most of the drugs used in cardiology to treat heart disease have a lot of contraindications, and can cause a number of side effects.
For the relief of symptoms of heart failure that has developed against the background of cardiosclerosis, it is advisable to use:
- ACE inhibitors;
- cardiac glycosides;
- beta blockers;
- aldosterone antagonists;
- diuretic drugs.
Such drugs normalize the activity of the heart, and also contribute to the regulation of the load placed on it. Doctors usually combine several drugs from different groups at once, which greatly alleviates the symptoms of CHF.
It is possible to supplement the treatment with other medications - it depends on what symptoms, besides the previously described, torment the patient. Depending on the patient’s general condition, the therapeutic response, the tolerance of the prescribed medication, and its combination with other drugs, its dosage may vary.
In order to avoid blood clots, antiplatelet medications are prescribed. They thin the blood and prevent the adherence of platelets. If there is a cardiac arrhythmia, then the patient is shown receiving anti-arrhythmic drugs.
Nutrition and dieting
Drug therapy must be combined with a diet. Changing the diet is necessary to reduce the load on the heart, which will facilitate its work. This significantly reduces the risk of death in cardiosclerosis.
Thus, the patient must:
- completely stop drinking and smoking;
- minimize physical exertion;
- regularly undergo examination by a cardiologist;
- timely cure acute infectious diseases;
- fight hormonal disorders;
- avoid stressful situations.
If you follow these rules, predictions for survival and relative recovery will be favorable. If you ignore such recommendations, even regular administration of prescribed drugs will not prevent the progression of pathology.
Diet for cardio sclerosis - a mandatory measure. It is aimed at reducing the concentration of harmful cholesterol in the blood. This, in turn, reduces the likelihood of developing atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries.
It is important to reduce salt intake to 5 - 6 per day. With severe course of cardiosclerosis, the dose of this product is reduced to 3 g. 1.5 fluids per day are allowed, including tea, juices, compotes and liquid meals. Such activities contribute to the reduction of the BCC, thereby preventing overloading the heart.
With cardiosclerosis, patients are advised to completely abandon:
- smoked meat;
- fatty meats;
- strong teas and coffee;
Flour products can be consumed, but in limited quantities.
It is very useful to cook meals from cereals, eat skim boiled meat, fresh fruits and vegetables. Particular emphasis should be placed on potassium-enriched products - dried fruits, bananas, raisins, etc. This element is well combined with cardiac glycosides, and enhances their effect when taken together.
The daily caloric intake of food is 1800 - 2600 kcal. This allows you to replenish the energy reserve of the body, but without undue stress on it (especially on the heart) with limited physical activity.
Changes can be made to the diet (by 20–30% of the energy value of the products) only in two cases: if the patient has obesity and cachexia is exhausted. Such violations automatically worsen the forecast, therefore, the menu correction is required. To properly develop a diet, you need to contact a nutritionist.
The operation is performed only with complicated cardiosclerosis. It can be executed in several ways:
- Heart transplantation. This is the only effective method for the complete treatment of cardiosclerosis. However, surgery is performed only if cardiac output is reduced to 20% or less of the generally accepted norms, as well as with the total ineffectiveness of pharmacotherapy. Heart transplantation is possible only if the patient does not have comorbid pathologies of the internal organs, accompanied by a severe course.
- Shunting of coronary vessels. Such an operation is performed with the pathological and rapid narrowing of the vascular lumen.
- Implantation of a pacemaker. Such an intervention is carried out with cardiosclerosis, accompanied by severe cardiac arrhythmias.
If a heart aneurysm is formed on the background of the disease, it is also surgically removed. During surgery, the affected area is either removed or strengthened, which helps prevent a rupture of a weakened myocardium.
Lifestyle with cardiosclerosis
When making a diagnosis of "cardiosclerosis", the patient must undergo preventive check-ups with a cardiologist every 6 to 12 months. If necessary, he may be referred to specialists of other profiles - an endocrinologist, a general practitioner or a heart surgeon for a complete and versatile examination.
A crucial role is played by the observance of the rules of a healthy lifestyle. It is necessary to forget about smoking and alcohol, instead it is recommended to do gymnastics for the cores, preferably in the open air. Moderate cardiac loads will strengthen the heart muscle, make it more durable and resistant.
During the first 2 weeks after suffering a myocardial infarction, it is important to stay in bed, and then rest more, preferably in the fresh air. It is necessary to avoid stress and go to the right diet.During the first weeks after suffering a heart attack, tissue is actively scarring, so any negative effects can cause serious complications.
All cardiac pathologies fraught with the development of cardiosclerosis require compliance with a diet with salt restriction, fatty foods, alcohol, and tobacco products. Banned are sharp, smoked, fatty dishes. Instead, you need to eat more vegetables, fruits, dairy products, lean meat and fish. If cardiosclerosis is not associated with heart disease, then the features of the diet are discussed individually with a specialist.
The best prevention of cardio sclerosis is the timely detection and complete cure of all existing cardiac pathologies. Of course, if there is such an opportunity. The most dangerous from the point of view of the development of the considered disease are the following pathologies of the cardiovascular system:
- arterial hypertension;
In order to avoid the development of cardiosclerosis, doctors recommend:
- follow a diet;
- lead a healthy, correct lifestyle;
- daily exercise with the implementation of feasible physical exertion;
- completely eradicate bad habits and addictions (for example, coffee or strong tea);
- regularly measure blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Important is the regular intake of multivitamin complexes, which include Omega-3 and Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, B vitamins, vitamin PP. In parallel with this, it is necessary to detect and cure concomitant diseases and lesions of other internal organs - the kidneys, the thyroid gland, the hematopoietic system.
In 40% of cases, cardiosclerosis occurs in an uncomplicated form, and therefore does not entail any consequences dangerous for the patient’s health or life. The main cause of severe complications lies in the presence of primary cardiac pathologies, or their occurrence against the background of already existing cardiosclerosis.
Very dangerous is this disease, which arose after myocardial infarction. In 50-60% of cases, it ends in severe blockades. But with timely medical intervention, in 75-85% of situations, the disease does not affect the patient's quality of life if he observes all the recommendations given by the attending physician.