Anonymous asked in HealthDiseases & ConditionsHeart Diseases · 1 decade ago

Heart pathology?

Why is breathlessness a symptom of angina? Is it because the heart has to work harder to supply the body with oxygen or because the body is not receiving enough oxygen so the lungs work harder?

2 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Breathlessness occurs because the whole body has a "demand level" of oxygen which the brain (via the heart and lungs) has to meet.

    In healthy people the brain makes the heart beat at the right rate, and the breathing at the right rate too, but also the DEPTH of each breath, and this makes "supply" equal to "demand".

    But when your heart is in trouble (such as is the case when its arteries are blocked, - or its valves leaking) then it can't supply a great enough RATE OF BLOOD-FLOW for itself and all the other organs, - simply because its efficiency is lowered. So the brain has to compensate for this by increasing the concentration of oxygen in the blood.

    It does this by making you breathe faster and deeper to get more oxygen dissolved into the content of what blood IS circulating. It does its best, and the organs (including your heart) just about 'get by' -if you're lucky. If they don't,....... you die, probably by a heart attack.

    It's the having to breathing faster and deeper that constitutes the breathlessness and "can't get my breath" feeling.

    The angina, incidentally, comes from the heart itself not getting enough oxygen to its own muscles. It (the heart) hasn't got any pain transmitters, so the distress is 'felt' by the pain sensors and transmitters left over from early Human days.

    Source(s): Cardiovascular Physicist
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Because it is hard to breath. The expansion of the chest causes pressure and lots of pain which leads to breathlessness.

    Source(s): Angina sufferer.
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