What is Broken Heart Syndrome? Here’s how to stop it

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When you picture a broken heart you might imagine a cartoon illustration of a broken heart with a jagged line across it. On the other hand, a broken heart can have serious cardiovascular effects in real life. Some studies also say that depression, mental health and heart disease are all linked. This condition is called broken heart syndrome.

Broken heart syndrome is a transient and reversible heart disease that is similar in symptoms to cardiac arrest. BHS, unlike a heart attack, occurs when sudden physical or mental stress causes a rapid weakening of your heart muscle.

How does unexpected stress cause weakness of the heart muscle?

Takotsubo syndrome is most common in people who are under a lot of mental or physical stress. However, in some circumstances, there is no obvious reason. The exact reason for this is still a scientific mystery. Some theories claim that when you are exposed to a stressful event, your body naturally releases hormones and proteins like adrenaline and noradrenaline to help you deal with it.

A tremendous amount of adrenaline that builds up suddenly in response to stress can overload the heart muscle. Excess adrenaline can restrict the small arteries that carry blood to the heart, resulting in a temporary reduction in blood supply to the heart. Although the effect of adrenaline on the heart during broken heart syndrome appears to be transitory and completely reversible – the heart normally recovers completely within days or weeks.

What are the signs and symptoms?

Takotsubo syndrome begins with symptoms similar to a heart attack, such as chest discomfort, shortness of breath, or fainting. If you or someone you are with is experiencing these symptoms, seek help immediately.

How can I avoid this?

Broken heart syndrome may recur, although most patients will not have a second episode. Doctors advocate long-term therapy with beta-blockers or comparable drugs that prevent stress chemicals from having a negative effect on the heart.

Recognizing and handling the stress in your life can also help prevent broken heart syndrome, although there is no evidence to support this claim at this time.

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