Diabetes drug shows promise in treating and reversing heart failure

ISLAMABAD, November 22 (online):  A newly released study found that people with heart failure who received the diabetes drug empagliflozin showed significant improvements in heart structure and function, with many experiencing a reversal of the disease.

Heart failure occurs when the heart cannot pump blood effectively to other parts of the body, causing symptoms that include shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, weakness and tiredness, and weight gain and swelling in the legs, ankles, feet, or stomach.

It may progress to congestive heart failure due to the buildup of fluids in the lungs, liver, and lower extremities.

Underlying causes of heart failure include coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, obesity, heart valve disease, and diabetes. Over time, these diseases may result in “adverse modeling,” which is the heart’s attempt to compensate for its added workload by getting larger, developing thicker walls, and pumping more frequently.

Among people with heart failure, about 50% present with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF). The lowered ejection fraction occurs when the heart’s left ventricle cannot pump blood effectively, decreasing the amount of blood that leaves the ventricle to circulate the body after each contraction.

Treatment options for heart failure include taking prescription drugs, reducing the amount of sodium in the diet, consuming a lower volume of liquids, and making any necessary lifestyle changes, such as reaching a moderate weight, quitting smoking, and eating a heart-healthy diet.

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