Maradona: the 6 diseases that gave the golden boy the most problems

Diego Armando Maradona died at the end of November 2020. One year after his death, we reviewed the different pathologies that accompanied him in his existence.

Last update: November 24, 2021

The death of the soccer star 1 year ago shocked the sports world. Diego Armando Maradona passed away after suffering from multiple illnesses on November 25, 2020.

The autopsy reported a cardiorespiratory arrest and very shortly before the footballer had been operated on for a subdural hematoma. Although there could be a link between both events, it cannot be ruled out that the accumulation of pathologies in the body of the Ten has diminished the responsiveness of your physiology.

Successive studies on Maradona’s body completed the initial data on his death. The professionals who expanded the autopsy found signs of chronic damage to his organs, from the lungs to the liver.

You could say that the Golden Boy died young. I was 60 years old and had an intense life on my back. We are going to review, then, the 6 Maradona illnesses that gave him the most problems.

1. Cirrhosis

The extension of the autopsy that was carried out on the body determined that Maradona counted, among his diseases, cirrhosis. This is a liver disease that changes the configuration of the organ and makes it inefficient in carrying out its functions.

In cirrhosis there is a disorganization of the liver tissue. Bands and areas of fibrosis are formed that displace cells (hepatocytes). The liver increases in size and the blood flow that should pass through it is impeded.

Consequently, various symptoms denote liver failure:

  • Yellowing of skin and mucous membranes (jaundice), due to the accumulation of bilirubin that is not metabolized.
  • Edemas, by the accumulation of fluid consequent to circulatory failures. Also because there are fewer proteins, since the organ does not synthesize them.
  • Clotting problems, since a large part of the clotting factors are synthesized in the liver. Its lower presence in the blood favors bleeding, bruising and uncontrolled bleeding.

The origin of this cirrhosis in Maradona could be traced to the liver attacks he had. In 1982 he was diagnosed with hepatitis B. Then, in 2007, he was diagnosed with toxic chemical hepatitis. The latter is an inflammation of the organ due to attacks derived from toxic substances.

Cirrhosis is a disease of the liver, but it actually affects the rest of the body because of its consequences.

2. Osteoarthritis of the knee

In recent times, the Ten He was severely limited in his lower limb mobility. It was known that he suffered from bilateral knee osteoarthritis.

This condition consists of a chronic inflammation of the joints with the formation of new tissue in the form of a bone scar that hardens the soft tissues. In other words, the cartilage ossifies, losing its cushioning and lubrication capacity. At the same time, it wears out, so hard structures rub against each other.

Knees with osteoarthritis are painful. They usually present with inflammation and, in severe cases, forcing prostration at certain times.

The problem is that the disorder is degenerative. In other words, it progresses as the patient ages. If we add to this Maradona’s obesity, which was always difficult for him to control, a factor of weight surcharge on the joints is added.



3. Obesity

Diego Maradona’s overweight and obesity were diseases that put him on the cover of newspapers without referring to football. When it reached 120 kilograms in weight in 2005 and when it was intervened again 10 years later, it was feared for the outcome.

The first surgery was a by pass gastric when exceeding 100 kilograms. It was carried out in a context of risk, since the Golden Boy he had pulmonary and cardiovascular complications that increased his risk.

However, he went ahead. He managed to lose 50 kilos in the following months. Unfortunately, 10 years later a gastric belt was added to improve control of recurring weight gains.

Obesity does not only have an aesthetic effect on people. Associated complications are usually severe. Patients have a higher rate of heart disorders, a high metabolic risk, and decreased daily comfort.

Insulin resistance and diabetes, angina pectoris, and obstructive sleep apnea are common with obesity. Regarding the latter, we know that Maradona dealt with the disruptions at rest until the last moment.

4. Mood disorders

It never completely transcended if Diego Armando Maradona had psychiatric illnesses. Although it was suspected that he could suffer from neurological sequelae in his later years, there was at no time a diagnosis that was published.

Anyway, according to the autopsy results, there were traces of venlafaxine and quetiapine in his urine. The first is an antidepressant from the group of selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. The second is an antipsychotic.

The combination of venlafaxine and quetiapine is an approach guideline for patients with depression resistant to single drug treatments. According to studies, it is a valid alternative when other instances have been exhausted, although it should be reserved for severe cases.



5. Heart disease

Diego Maradona’s heart was the target of serious diseases. One of the most memorable episodes occurred in 2000, while the star was in Punta del Este (Uruguay).

An arrhythmia brought him to the brink of death. And there it was revealed that he had a severe dilatation of the heart chambers. This is combined with a thinning of the heart’s walls, making it very inefficient at pumping the blood the body needs.

This combination of dilated chambers and thinned walls prevents proper blood supply to the heart muscle itself. Consequently, there is an ischemic cardiomyopathy. The expected outcome when these variables are not controlled is acute myocardial infarction.

But meanwhile, heart failure causes symptoms. Fluid builds up in certain body tissues, the lungs poorly exchange oxygen with carbon dioxide, blood pressure rises, and the kidneys don’t get enough flow to get rid of waste.

A year ago, the first published diagnosis of Diego Maradona’s death referred to acute lung edema due to decompensated heart failure. This happens because the lungs fill with blood., by not being able to advance it in the cardiorespiratory circuit, because the heart muscle does not pump as it should.

Lung edema fills the tissue responsible for breathing with fluid, making it difficult to incorporate oxygen.

6. Subdural hematoma

As we already said, a few weeks before his death, the footballer had been operated on for a subdural hematoma. This painting is a collection of blood that is located between the bones of the skull and the brain. They usually appear due to trauma.

The surgery had tried to alleviate the tension that this mass of blood generated in the brain of the Ten. The stress of the operation itself may have forced your circulatory system to work beyond its capabilities.

It is not known when or why this bruise originated. Perhaps an old blow on the court that, slowly, was storing blood. Or maybe a recent hit. A small rupture of a cerebral vessel that has been bleeding like a drip cannot be ruled out either.

Maradona’s illnesses were many

Counting the diseases that Maradona suffered and not being surprised is almost impossible. Several organs compromised at the same time were able to determine the lack of organ strengths to respond to the stress of his last surgery.

Undoubtedly, some pathologies are related to others. Heart failure leads to lung edema and kidney failure. Being overweight aggravates osteoarthritis of the knees. Cirrhosis prevents adequate clotting and favors bruising.

Every patient with multiple pathologies and polymedication is difficult to approach. One year after the soccer star’s death, we view his medical history with amazement.

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