COPD May Limit Your Heart Function

Restricted air flow forces your heart to work harder, but treatments can ease the burden.

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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) damages the airways and restricts air from exiting the lungs normally. Patients with severe COPD can develop a serious heart condition called cor pulmonale, which weakens the hearts ability to pump. Now a study published in the January 21 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine is the first to show that mild-to-moderate emphysema, a common form of COPD, also affects the heart. The study indicates emphysema-induced changes in heart function may appear long before cor pulmonale.
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