All You Need to Know About Fatty Heart
The term fatty heart disease, also called fatty heart or lipomatosis, describes various diseases of the heart region. This causes connective tissue to transform into fat cells. This can have various causes, such as damage to the heart muscle tissue or obesity.
What is fatty heart?
A fatty heart is either a side effect of obesity or an independent degeneration of the heart muscle. In the case of obesity, the right ventricle is particularly affected, which can lead to right heart failure. However, myocardial damage can also occur , for example as a result of chronic alcohol abuse.
According to abbreviationfinder.org, the fatty degeneration also affects the left ventricle and is occasionally accompanied by dilated cardiomyopathy. The term must be distinguished from the so-called fatty myocardial degeneration, which occurs, among other things, in arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy.
Furthermore, it is important to distinguish fatty degeneration from coronary heart disease (“calcification” or “fatty degeneration” of the coronary arteries), for which the term is sometimes incorrectly used as a synonym.
As a side effect of general obesity, the heart is surrounded by a thick layer of fat in the case of fatty heart disease. If the disease occurs as an independent degeneration of the heart muscle, this is the result of the gradual conversion of muscle tissue into fatty tissue. The main causes of fatty degeneration in the heart are a high-fat, high-calorie diet and alcohol abuse.
However, persistent overstraining of the heart and diseases of the heart blood vessels can also cause the syndrome. Long-lasting high fever is another risk factor for fatty heart disease. This occurs, for example, in typhus, smallpox or pyaemia. The diseases that can provoke the development of the disease include anemia, pulmonary tuberculosis, scurvy and protracted suppuration and bleeding. Women and older people are particularly affected by fatty heart disease.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
The side effects of fatty heart disease include coronary symptoms such as palpitations and cardiac insufficiency. But general symptoms such as shortness of breath, easy fatigue, asthma, shortness of breath, anxiety, fainting spells and dizziness can also be signs of the disease.
Fatty heart disease as a result of obesity begins with right heart failure. This causes different symptoms, such as congested and dilated neck veins, edema, congested kidneys or congested gastritis. If the left ventricle is affected, this can lead to dilated cardiomyopathy. Among other things, this causes progressive left- sided heart failure, cardiac arrhythmia, embolism and Cheyne-Stokes breathing as a sleep-related breathing disorder.
Diagnosis & disease progression
A fatty heart usually initially leads to right heart failure, which spreads to the entire heart over time. Dilated cardiomyopathy often develops as a long-term consequence. Right heart failure can be diagnosed clinically.
The enlargement of the heart can be shown with the help of an echocardiography and a chest X -ray. Widening of the azygos vein and superior vena cava including the right atrium can be observed at diagnosis. The heart shifts to the left with elevation of the heart apex when the right heart is enlarged.
Dilated cardiomyopathy can also be diagnosed by echocardiography. The dilatation of the ventricles and the left atrium, hypokinesia and wall movement disorders can be determined. An MRI examines anatomy, heart function, and valve function. Biopsy and pathohistology may be used to rule out ischemic causes.
While fatty heart disease can be treated well in the early stages, a severe course with sudden onset of cardiac paralysis can be fatal. Therefore, a doctor should be consulted as soon as the first signs appear. This is the only way to prevent the obesity from causing irreparable damage to the heart.
A fatty heart can cause a number of complications. First, a fatty heart leads to circulatory problems such as high blood pressure, sweating and palpitations. These symptoms are usually accompanied by shortness of breath, fatigue and dizziness. This is often associated with a decrease in general well-being and, depending on the degree of fatty heart disease, the development of psychological problems.
In the further course, right-sided heart failure can also develop, which can later develop into complete heart failure. If the left ventricle is affected, dilated cardiomyopathy can develop later. This can lead to left ventricular failure, cardiac arrhythmia and the development of embolism.
Sleep-related breathing disorders such as Cheyne-Stokes breathing can also occur. A fatty heart as a result of obesity can also lead to dilated neck veins, edema and congested kidneys. In general, fatty heart disease increases the risk of heart attacks and other life-threatening complications.
If the causative disease is not treated, permanent cardiac insufficiency usually develops, which in turn is associated with symptoms. In the case of medical treatment of a fatty heart, major complications are unlikely. Only with rapid fat loss cures and zero diets is there a risk of overloading the heart.
When should you go to the doctor?
If there is increased shortness of breath, shortness of breath, dizziness or palpitations, there may be fatty heart disease. A doctor should be consulted if symptoms persist for more than a few days or other symptoms develop. Disturbances of consciousness and fainting spells must be clarified immediately by a doctor. If there are major symptoms, such as persistent shortness of breath or palpitations, this should also be examined promptly. People who are overweight are particularly at risk.
Patients who eat a generally unhealthy diet, drink a lot of alcohol or have a disease of the metabolic system are particularly likely to develop fatty heart disease. Anyone who counts themselves among these risk groups should consult a doctor if they experience the symptoms mentioned. If there is a suspicion of pronounced cardiac insufficiency, the disease may already be far advanced. Then you should see your family doctor immediately. Other contacts are the cardiologist or a specialist in internal diseases. In case of doubt, the medical emergency service can be contacted first. If the symptoms are severe, we recommend calling the emergency services.
Treatment & Therapy
In the initial stages of fatty heart disease, it is important to take countermeasures quickly in order to stop the progression of the disease. For this purpose, emotional and psychological stress and excessive physical exertion should be avoided. In order to strengthen the heart muscle and prevent the formation of further fat tissue, daily walks with a slowly increasing level of exertion are recommended.
Systematic remedial gymnastics can also drive the recovery process under medical supervision. A long stay in the fresh forest or mountain air is just as beneficial as strict adherence to a diet. Strong alcoholic drinks, coffee, tea or drinking too much water should be avoided, as these put a strain on the cardiovascular system.
While sugar, pastries and potatoes should be eliminated from the menu, the enjoyment of vegetables and fruit is recommended. In any case, the treatment should be supervised by a doctor instead of setting up a therapy plan on your own. Rapid degreasing treatments are not recommended. This causes the fatty tissue around the heart to be eliminated too quickly, causing the heart to lose its support.
Possible consequences are heart enlargement and cardiac insufficiency. In cases that are not too advanced, a careful defatting treatment under medical supervision can lead to the complete healing of the patient. Treatment in later stages is more difficult and usually only promises an alleviation of the symptoms.
Outlook & Forecast
The prospects of recovery from fatty heart disease differ depending on the stage of the disease and the patient’s initiative. At an early stage, the disease can be contained by taking regular walks in the fresh air and eating a balanced diet. Stress and excessive physical exertion are not recommended, as these can put too much strain on the heart and cause other diseases. The diet should be limited to a strict diet, without the consumption of acidic foods such as coffee, sugar and alcoholic beverages.
A stay in the mountains can also support healing. Here, for example, a stay in a spa facility is an option. In addition to sufficient exercise, the focus here is also on nutrition. If these criteria are met, the prognosis at this early stage of the disease is very positive.
However, if the fatty degeneration is advanced, the prospect of complete recovery is very poor. In most cases, this is only about curbing the symptoms and not making them worse. Other serious diseases should be avoided, which is why close medical care is necessary. However, the prognosis is bad. For this reason, a doctor should be consulted at the first sign of the disease.
In order to prevent fatty heart disease as a result of obesity, a health-promoting diet should come first. This includes the extensive renunciation of high-fat food, or their moderate consumption. Fruits and vegetables should make up the bulk of meals to prevent excess fat accumulation.
The fatty heart that develops in the course of alcohol abuse can be prevented by moderate alcohol consumption. In any case, stress should be avoided as much as possible and exercise in the fresh air encouraged. Diseases that put a strain on the cardiovascular system should be treated by a doctor as soon as possible to rule out long-term consequences.
In the case of fatty heart disease, the patient usually only has very few follow-up measures available. The disease should generally be prevented to avoid this complication. In the worst case, the fatty degeneration of the heart can lead to the death of those affected if they are not treated properly. First and foremost, however, the cause of this obesity must be identified and treated so that the symptoms can be properly limited.
Self-healing does not occur in this case. The treatment itself depends very much on the exact cause of the fatty heart disease, with the doctor usually drawing up a nutrition plan for the patient. This must be strictly observed. In general, a healthy lifestyle with a healthy diet and physical activity also has a positive effect on the course of the disease.
Those affected should also refrain from smoking or consuming alcohol. Since fatty heart disease generally weakens the heart, regular examinations by a doctor should take place. Whether the disease reduces life expectancy depends heavily on the severity of this obesity. Contact with other people affected by the disease can also be useful, as this can lead to an exchange of information.
In the case of fatty heart disease, the patient usually only has very few follow-up measures available. The disease should generally be prevented to avoid this complication. In the worst case, the fatty degeneration of the heart can also lead to the death of the person concerned if it is not treated properly.
First and foremost, however, the cause of this obesity must be identified and treated so that the symptoms can be properly limited. Self-healing does not occur in this case. The treatment itself depends very much on the exact cause of the fatty heart disease, with the doctor usually drawing up a nutrition plan for the patient. This must be strictly observed.
In general, a healthy lifestyle with a healthy diet and physical activity also has a positive effect on the course of the disease. The person concerned should also refrain from smoking or consuming alcohol. Since fatty heart disease generally weakens the heart, regular examinations by a doctor should take place.
Whether the disease reduces life expectancy depends very much on the extent of this obesity. Contact with other people affected by the disease can also be useful, as this can lead to an exchange of information.
You can do that yourself
One of the main causes of lipomatosis (fatty heart) is the wrong diet, especially one that is high in fat and energy, and permanent excessive alcohol consumption. In these cases, the patient himself can do a great deal to improve his state of health.
If the fatty heart is due to being overweight, a consistent change in lifestyle is essential. But this is very difficult for many people. The support of the family doctor is usually not enough. Since a lack of knowledge and a lack of motivation are often the main causes of severe obesity, those affected are best looking for professional help. With a nutritionistlearn which foods are healthy and which foods are better avoided. You will also receive a nutrition plan that is tailored to your health problems and your individual life situation. If necessary, those affected also learn how to prepare healthy food correctly. In addition, it helps many overweight people to join a self-help group, since weight reduction is a lengthy and tough process, especially in the case of severe obesity.
In addition to the right diet, regular physical exercise also plays an important role. If the weight already limits mobility, water sports, especially swimming and water aerobics, are recommended. In larger cities there are also gyms that specialize in overweight people. Training with special equipment is particularly effective and the membership fees usually motivate people to actually use the paid offer.
Anyone suffering from alcohol addiction should start therapy as soon as possible, although alcoholics also benefit from membership in an (anonymous) self-help group.