Weight loss and heart failure share a connection. People living with heart failure may experience unexpected and extreme weight loss.
When weight loss occurs with heart failure, it is known as cardiac cachexia. This condition is associated with an increased mortality rate among people living with heart failure.
The following article reviews how heart failure and weight loss relate to each other, with a focus on cardiac cachexia.
Research is somewhat lacking when it comes to how rapid weight loss affects the heart. What is known is that rapid weight loss may be bad for people living with cardiovascular disease.
However, they noted that the highest risk occurs in people living with cardiovascular disease. In addition, the effects on the heart reversed or normalized within 8 weeks of starting the diet.
Learn how to reach or maintain a moderate weight in a healthy way here.
Several conditions and events can trigger heart palpitations. Heart palpitations include the heart beating too fast, too hard, skipping beats, or a feeling of fluttering in the chest.
Though weight loss itself may not cause heart palpitations, some things that accompany it may. For example, diet pills, exercise, caffeine intake, nutritional disturbances, or electrolyte abnormalities can trigger heart palpitations.
In addition, research has shown that low carb diets may significantly increase a person’s risk factor for atrial fibrillation (A-fib). A-fib can cause symptoms such as heart palpitations and can increase the risk of stroke.
The study authors recommend that younger individuals take steps to prevent weight gain throughout their life.
However, it is important to remember that weight loss can be unintentional. For example, people with cancer may experience weight loss and mortality due to the condition.
Weight loss can still be healthy
Losing excess weight can be an effective way to reduce a person’s risk of several potentially life threatening conditions. These include:
Research is more extensive in these benefits than the possible cardiac risks of sudden weight loss in some groups.
Findings from one observational study may not be representative of potential results from a randomized group. The benefits of losing excess weight may far outweigh the possible cardiac risks associated with a sudden drop in weight.
People living with heart failure can develop rapid weight loss. This is known as cardiac cachexia, and the outlook for people with the condition is not positive due to an increased risk of mortality.
Cardiac cachexia is a condition that
The condition can cause a person to have an increased risk of death regardless of other risk factors associated with heart disease.
Symptoms of cardiac cachexia
- slow wound healing
- reduced strength and ability to exercise
- impaired immune function
- muscle wasting
- weight loss
These symptoms can negatively impact a person’s quality of life.
The exact cause of cardiac cachexia is not clear.
- food intake
- an imbalance between anabolic and catabolic processes
- gastrointestinal abnormalities
- neurohormonal activation
- immunological activation
- poor cardiac output
- nutrient malabsorption
A person living with cardiac cachexia will therefore have an increased risk of death even if they have no other risk factors that would indicate a shortened lifespan.
A person living with heart failure or heart disease should speak with a doctor if they experience unexplained weight loss. This could be a sign they have developed cardiac cachexia.
A doctor will likely ask the person questions about their symptoms and determine how much weight they have lost. Though diagnosis criteria can vary, many doctors
In addition, a person will have experienced
- decrease in muscle strength
- increase in inflammatory markers
- low blood albumin levels
Most researchers suggest that increasing food intake, supplements, and exercise may help with maintaining a moderate weight. Doctors
Learn about how much a person should weigh for their height and age here.
Weight loss can occur as a result of heart failure. However, it is not likely that healthy people who experience weight loss or achieve a moderate body weight will develop any significant cardiovascular issues.
Cardiac cachexia is a serious condition that occurs alongside heart failure. It results in skeletal and muscle wasting as well as weight loss. It can cause symptoms such as muscle weakness and fatigue.
A person may be able to prevent and treat the condition with a focus on eating and exercise as well as through addressing any underlying psychological conditions that may affect how they eat.