Diastolic Heart Failure

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Diastolic heart failure or “diastolic congestive heart failure (CHF)” is characterized by the inability of the part of the heart called the left ventricle the accept blood returning from the part of the heart called the left atrium which could be due to the aging of the heart or an increase in the blood pressure […] Read More

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Diastolic Heart Failure

Diastolic heart failure or “diastolic congestive heart failure (CHF)” is characterized by the inability of the part of the heart called the left ventricle the accept blood returning from the part of the heart called the left atrium which could be due to the aging of the heart or an increase in the blood pressure of the left atrial.   This occurs when there is an alteration during the relaxation, filling, or distensibility of the left ventricle. Here, the ventricles which are the heart’s main pumping chamber cannot relax properly, hence less blood enters the heart, and blood pressure in the lungs increases leading to an increase in body fluid especially in the lungs, legs, and belly. Diastolic heart failure is quite common with people living with hypertension especially amongst elderly women as diastolic heart failure increases with age.  DIASTOLIC HEART FAILURE STAGES Stage A or Grade 1 Diastolic Dysfunction  It is also called “impaired relaxation”. You have not developed it yet but are likely to get heart failure.  This is characterized by the presence of: Stage B or Grade 2 Diastolic Dysfunction Here, the symptoms are not visible but you may be diagnosed with systolic left ventricular dysfunction as the left side of your heart can not pump properly. Hence, leading to heart attack, valve disease, cardiomyopathy.  It is also called the “pseudonormal stage” and is characterized by structural heart diseases. Stage C or Grade 3 Diastolic Dysfunction In this phase, you might experience some symptoms together with systolic left ventricular dysfunction.  Such symptoms include: 
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Less ability to exercise 
  • Symptoms of heart failure with small stress. 
It is called “reversible restriction”. Stage D or Grade 4 Diastolic Dysfunction This is a very critical stage. It is characterized by advanced symptoms and urgent medical help is needed.  You might need a heart transplant, ventricular assist devices, surgery options, and continuous infusion of intravenous inotropic drugs.  It is also called “fixed restrictive” as clinical damages here are quite permanent.  RISKS OF DIASTOLIC HEART FAILURE The risks of diastolic heart failure include:
  • Taking cardiotoxic drug therapy
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Rheumatic fever
  • History of Family members with cardiomyopathy
  • Smoking
  • Using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs 
  • Systemic stressors such as anemia, fever, infections, etc
  • Arrhythmia
  • Increase intake of salt
  • Aging
DIAGNOSIS OF DIASTOLIC HEART FAILURE When diagnosing you, your doctor has to examine you by:
  • Checking your medical history
  • Conducting some laboratory tests on you such as blood test, exercise test, or stress test.
  • You will also undergo an echocardiogram to check for diastolic dysfunction
  • Electrocardiogram 
  • Sometimes, a heart catheterization is advised. 
  • Use of radionuclide angiography in people having difficulty undergoing echocardiography
  • Chest x-ray.
TREATMENT OF DIASTOLIC HEART FAILURE Diastolic heart failure can not be treated but can be managed and its symptoms can be eased and the heartbeat improved.
  • Eating healthy diet
  • Exercising regularly
  • Avoiding been overweight
  • Avoid smoking 
  • Medications that could help ease swellings and control pulmonary congestion will be administered such as diuretics, mineralocorticoids, etc.
  • Medications also to decrease blood pressure will be given
  • Heart rate can be controlled using beta-blockers such as nondihydropyridine calcium channel blockers or digoxin.
  • Reduced alcohol intake
  • Surgery or heart transplant in severe cases.
DIASTOLIC HEART FAILURE LIFE EXPECTANCY Diastolic heart failure has a higher mortality rate compared to systolic heart failure as the survival rate is pinned at 43% for 5 years but the mortality increases as time passes.  



The symptoms of diastolic heart failure include:

  • Shortness of breath 
  • Easily tired
  • Swellings at the feet, ankles, legs, or abdomen
  • Fast and irregular beating of the heart
  • Frequent urination
  • Lack of appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Lack of focus and concentration.



There are several causes of diastolic heart failure and they include:

  • Loss of Elasticity in Blood Vessels

The common cause of diastolic heart failure is the loss of elasticity in the major blood vessels which makes them stiff.

  • Increase in Blood Pressure

The heart is overworked when there is an increase in blood pressure as more blood needs to be pumped to get blood to every part of your body. As a result, your heart muscles may stiffen as they get thicker and larger to accommodate the increase in workload.

  • Diabetes

People with diabetes usually have thickened walls of the heart.

  • Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary artery disease could affect the flow of blood to your heart muscles and cause ischemia which can prevent the rate at which the heart relaxes and fills with blood

  • Obesity or Lack of Exercise

Lack of exercise and accumulation of fatty tissues in the body could cause diastolic heart failure.

  • Aortic Stenosis

These occur when the aortic valve narrows and thereby causing the left ventricle to thicken, affecting its ability to fill with blood.

  • Pericardial Disease

This occurs when the pericardium that is the sac covering the heart is affected or inflamed leading to a thickened pericardium or pericardial constriction and can affect the heart's ability to fill.

  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

This is a genetically inherited abnormality characterized by the thickening of the walls of the left ventricle.


How long can I live with diastolic heart failure?

According to research, the expected life expectancy of people with diastolic heart failure is not yet certain but estimated to be less than 5years with a record of 90% dying within one year after diagnosis.

What are the signs of end-stage congestive heart failure?

The end-stage of diastolic congestive heart failure is usually the irreversible stage. They include dyspnea which is shortness of breath, arrhythmia which irregular heartbeat, persistent cough, or wheezing with blood-stained phlegm.

What are the foods that help people with diastolic dysfunction?

These food include salmon fish, leafy greens like kale, garlic, seafood, potatoes, liver, sardines

What are the foods to avoid by people with diastolic dysfunction?

Food that tends to increase the risk of diastolic heart failure includes bacon, sausage, processed snacks, energy drinks, foods with high-calorie contents, pizza, baked foods, and generally foods with increased salt or saturated fats and refined sugar.

What is the difference between systolic and diastolic heart failure?

Systolic heart failure occurs when the heart is not contracting properly while diastolic heart failure is due to the inability of the heart to relax properly.