Know All About Broken Heart Syndrome
Shronit has had his heart broken a couple of times. He has faced a lot of tough situations in life but the one thing that always helped him cope up was learning about what he was going through and finding the right help.
This time Shronit genuinely thinks that he is suffering from broken heart syndrome but he is not very sure. Do you want to learn about broken heart syndrome and help Shronit feel better? If yes, then let’s dive right into the topic.
Understanding the Broken Heart Syndrome
Broken heart syndrome is a temporary heart condition that is often brought on by extreme emotions or stressful situations. This condition can also be triggered if the individual has experienced a serious physical illness or surgery.
Broken heart syndrome is also known as cardiomyopathy, apical ballooning syndrome, and takotsubo cardiomyopathy. If an individual is suffering from broken heart syndrome, then he or she should know that the condition affects a part of the heart and might temporarily disrupt the normal pumping functions of the heart.
Apart from that, the rest of the heart will continue to function normally or even have more forceful contractions. The condition usually reverses itself in a few days or weeks. The symptoms of the condition are also treatable.
Some symptoms of broken heart syndrome are:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Diaphoresis or excessive sweating
If you experience any of these symptoms for a significant amount of time or if it is causing a lot of distress to you, then you should seek professional medical help. This should be done as soon as possible.
Studies have tried to figure out the exact cause of broken heart syndrome but haven’t been successful. According to some studies, it is believed that a surge of stress hormones like adrenaline might temporarily damage the hearts of some people.
However, there is hardly any clarity on how the stress hormones might hurt the heart or whether something else is responsible for the condition. Some studies have also shown that a temporary constriction of the large or small arteries of the heart could also play a role.
It is also speculated that people who suffer from broken heart syndrome might also have a different structure of the heart muscle. The one thing that is clear from all these studies is that broken heart syndrome is often preceded by intense physical or emotional events. Some possible triggers of broken heart syndrome are:
- Domestic abuse
- Death of a loved one
- A frightening medical diagnosis
- Losing or even winning a lot of money
- Strong arguments
- A surprise party
- Public speaking
- Financial difficulty
- Job loss
- Asthma attack
- COVID-19 infection
- Broken bone
- Major surgery
Apart from all this, it has also been depicted by some interesting studies that the consumption of some drugs that increase the surge of stress hormones in the body might also play a big role. Some of those drugs are:
- Epinephrine: This drug is used to treat severe allergic reactions or a severe asthma attack
- Duloxetine or Cymbalta: This is a medication that is given to treat several nerve problems in individuals who suffer from diabetes. It is also referred to during the treatment for depression
- Venlafaxine: This drug is used for the treatment of depression
- Levothyroxine, Synthroid, or Levoxyl: It is administered to people whose thyroid glands don’t work properly
- Unprescribed or illegal stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine
Stress and the Weakness of Heart Muscle
We have mentioned that stress and the weakness of heart muscles are related to broken heart syndrome. However, we haven’t exactly explored how this weakness due to stress happens. Let’s do that now.
When an individual experiences a stressful event, the body produces hormones and proteins like adrenaline and noradrenaline. These hormones and proteins are meant to help the body cope up with stress.
However, what if the heart muscle is suddenly overwhelmed by a large amount of adrenaline that is produced in response to stress? In that case, the excess adrenaline can narrow the small arteries that supply the heart with the necessary blood. This causes a temporary decrease in blood flow to the heart.
Apart from this, another theory states that adrenaline might even bind to the heart cells directly. This causes large amounts of calcium to enter the cells. This calcium prevents the heart cells from beating properly.
This also shows that the effect of stress on the heart is temporary and completely reversible. This has been shown by studies that depict that the heart usually recovers completely within a few days or weeks.
There are some risk factors that can increase the chances of one suffering from broken heart syndrome. These risk factors are:
- Sex: Women are far more often affected by this condition than men
- Age: Most people who suffer from broken heart syndrome are over the age of 50 years
- History of Neurological Condition: Individuals with a history of neurological conditions like seizure disorder, epilepsy, or heart injury have a greater risk of suffering from this condition
- Previous or Current Psychiatric Disorder: If you have suffered from anxiety or depression, then you are also at great risk of suffering from broken heart syndrome
In some rare cases, broken heart syndrome has also proved to be fatal. This is not true for most people as they suffer from this condition and the heart recovers quickly. But there are still some possible complications, including:
- Low blood pressure or hypotension
- Disruptions in your heartbeat
- Heart failure
- Backup of fluid into the lungs or pulmonary edema
It is impossible for an individual to run away from stress and anxiety. However, these are still some things that one can do to prevent the occurrence or recurrence of broken heart syndrome.
For example, many doctors advise long-term treatment with beta-blockers or other similar medications that block the damaging effects of stress hormones on the heart. Apart from that, taking up an active approach to managing the stress in your life can also go a long way!
Shronit has learned so much today. But the most important thing for him was to be reminded of how he should not take extra stress in his life. Did we remind you of the same thing? Or have you always been following this advice?