Q. Can Crohn's disease cause heart failure?

Answered by
Dr. Navajith A. Mani
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Apr 27, 2022

Hello doctor,

Crohn's was an assumed cause for symptoms (bloody stool, abdominal pain) I was experiencing for the past two and a half years. Unfortunately, I was never officially diagnosed due to my negligence in receiving follow-up care. Almost ten months back, I was diagnosed with acute congestive heart failure after seeking medical treatment for severe shortness of breath, lack of energy, and feeling a "tug" in my chest. My current symptoms are; periodic bloody stool, abdominal pain in the lower right side, constipation, bloating in the abdominal area, swelling in my legs, ankles and feet, coughing up yellowish mucus, shortness of breath, and I stop breathing whenever I fall asleep and wake up gasping for air as if I was drowning. I am also asthmatic since childhood and have experienced four to five asthma attacks within the last six months. The latest attack was prolonged and violent. Three days later, I was in ER and left with an HF diagnosis. I have a previous history of longstanding untreated high blood pressure.

I am currently taking Furosemide. Unfortunately, this medication has not been effective, and I am not progressively urinating despite this medication's specification. I was given Prednisone two and a half years back, but I neglected the restorative care prescribed.

Two and a half years back, I was asked to submit a stool sample, conduct further testing and seek follow-up care for probable Crohn's disease, which I failed to do. I have had multiple testing done for ten months, such as chest X-ray, echocardiogram, computed tomography (CT), electrocardiogram (ECG), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), metabolic panel screening, and other blood or urine samples which showed certain inconsistencies and abnormalities.

Would untreated Crohn's disease be the cause of my heart failure? And if so, would the heart failure be reversible once the underlying health conditions are addressed? Since being diagnosed with heart failure, I am also experiencing severe sleep apnea. Is there anything I can do to subside this symptom or condition?



Welcome to

I am sorry you have to suffer this way. Please do not worry. Would untreated Crohn's disease be the cause of my heart failure? The answer is no. You can control the symptoms of heart failure like sleep apnea with the following measures. I suggest you

1. Control your blood pressure (BP) as you are hypertensive.

2. Reduced salt intake.

3. Restrict fluid intake to less than 1.2 L.

4. Keep a regular follow-up with the physician.

5. Consume high potassium and low fat, and avoid dairy products.

6. Go for a 20-minute brisk walk daily.

I suggest you get a colonoscopy and biopsy done to confirm Crohn's disease.

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