Can a broken heart have a consequence on your health? According to the scientists the broken heart syndrome is a real condition which appears when we are exposed to extremely stressful situations. Such stressful situations could include a painful breakup from a long-term relationship or the death of a loved one.
Originally, the syndrome was called takotsubo cardiomyopathy (TTC), and it was reported for the first time in Japan, back in 1990. Ever since then, there have been more cases which have been reported around the globe, although the research suggests that this syndrome was diagnosed in only about 0.02% of all hospitalizations in the U. S. Nevertheless, they are believed to be underdiagnosed because of less awareness of the syndrome.
Broken heart syndrome manifests as a weakening of the left ventricle, which is the main blood-pumping chamber of our heart. It is usually emotional and physical stress at severe levels that contributes to this condition.
“When you see this disease, takotsubo cardiomyopathy or the broken heart syndrome, there’s an exorbitant amount of stress and all of those stress hormones you feel in your head get released into your body and it almost causes your heart to be stunned, these hormones in this stunned moment look like a heart attack,” Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a cardiologist, told Fox News.
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People often misdiagnose this temporal cardiac condition to be a heart attack, because of their highly resembling symptoms. That’s why doctors use imaging studies and other methods in order to determine the proper condition.
In most cases, heart attacks are caused by a partial or complete blockage of an artery. On the other hand, broken heart syndrome is not caused by blocked arteries, but from the blood flow in the passage of the heart being reduced.
The symptoms of broken heart syndrome are known to start between minutes and hours after the person has experienced unexpected and severe emotional or physical stress.
“The first thing that happens is shortness of breath, chest pain, palpitations, very similar to a heart attack,” Steinbaum told Fox News. “The key is get to the hospital immediately because what happens in that first period of time is critical for recovery.”
According to the research, older women are more exposed to this unexpected condition as they have reduced levels of estrogen which occurs after menopause.
The clinical review of 2010 suggests that more than 90% of cases that were reported were in women who were aged between 58 and 75.
“When we’re post-menopausal we don’t have all the protective mechanisms we have when we’re younger to really protect our heart,” Steinbaum explained.
At the moment, there are no treatments which could entirely prevent the condition from happening. However, it’s of great importance to manage stress levels, take a rest and find a way to cope with one’s problems, which can improve the emotional and physical health of people.
“There was a scientific statement recently released about the use of meditation to prevent risk factors and that’s one of the things I talk about is being so important for people to consider as a mechanism to deal with stress,” said Steinbaum.
“If you do something every day, that becomes a practice, then in that moment of time when you cannot even believe that you have to deal with something you’re confronted with, you can handle it in a little better way,” she added.
Even though there is no standard treatment available, doctors will try to improve the blood flow to the heart in patients. Also, they will suggest further therapies such as β-blockers medications. Furthermore, doctors will suggest patients change their lifestyle habits if needed.
“Over time, we often recover from ‘brokenheartedness,’ the heart heals and we see resolution often by three months,” Steinbaum told Fox News. “It’s just getting people through that initial phase of a stunned heart.”