World Heart Day- Know more about the 'Broken heart syndrome'
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World Heart Day- Know more about the 'Broken heart syndrome'

It can be characterized by sudden pain in the chest after overwhelming emotional or physical stress

World Heart Day-  Know more about the 'Broken heart syndrome'

We may have felt sudden chest pain after moments of great sadness. The emotional pain of loss in human relationships is often explored in art, yet it could also be a medical condition.

Broken heart syndrome, also known as stress cardiomyopathy or Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is a condition where one can experience sudden pain in the chest after overwhelming emotional or physical stress. It mimics a mini heart attack yet is not that fatal. In broken heart syndrome, the heart arteries are not blocked, although blood flow in the arteries of the heart may be reduced.

Dr Anil Dhal, a senior cardiologist explains “Broken heart syndrome occurs because of any emotional stress, which can be sadness or happiness. During such time, the body goes through a hormonal search Due to which a portion of the heart is stunned.

While presenting the reason for its other name ‘takotsubo cardiomyopathy’ Dr Dhal says “ When an individual has suffered from broken heart syndrome, their heart looks like an octopus trap also known as takotsubo cardiomyopathy on an echo. This name is derived from the Japanese language.

According to Cleveland Clinic, nearly 7.8 per cent of patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) are diagnosed with broken heart syndrome during the COVID-19 pandemic as compared to the 1.5-1.8 per cent before the pandemic.

Cleveland Clinic says that broken heart syndrome is an easily reversible and temporary condition. The medical literature reports explain that this syndrome can be detected in about 2% of patients suspected of a heart attack.

Symptoms of broken heart syndrome:
According to Cleveland Clinic, in broken heart syndrome, the stress hormones temporarily stun your hurt muscles by showing similar symptoms like a heart attack. Here are some of the symptoms of a heart attack one can experience:

  • Sudden and severe chest pain in the chest
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Fluids in lungs
  • Weakening of the left ventricle of the heart

How is it different from a heart attack?
Why is broken heart syndrome not a heart attack?
Dr Dhal explains “While screening there are ECG changes, echo changes, enzymatic changes which all resemble heart attack but the pattern does not correlate with the vessel territories and therefore it is not declared as a heart attack.”

He added “A broken heart syndrome can occur without any illnesses or also to someone who is sick or has serious illnesses, and comes across unusual conditions. It normally recovers by itself.”

Causes of broken heart syndrome:

  • The exact cause of broken heart syndrome is yet not known. But when your body faces any stressful physical or emotional condition the body releases stress hormones such as adrenalin, noradrenalin, epinephrine and norepinephrine. This can result in
  • Forceful contraction of heart muscles
  • The disturbed rhythm of your heartbeat
  • Causes enlargement in some parts of your heart.
  • These changes can cause the temporary failure of heart muscles.

Broken heart syndrome can be triggered by stressful emotional or physical trauma. Some of the examples of such conditions are mentioned below:

  • Loss of loved ones or any meaningful relationship. Eg: ( divorce, the breakup of a romantic relationship or losing a beloved pet)
  • Sudden surprise with good news (e.g., surprise parties, winning the lottery).
  • Any bad news.
  • Intense fear (e.g., public speaking, armed robbery, car accident).
  • Extreme anger.
  • Moreover, factors such as extreme pain, any tiring physical event and health conditions like an asthma attack, difficulty breathing seizure, high fever, low blood sugar, large blood loss, and surgery can also cause broken heart syndrome.

This article is a replug on World Heart Day