Broken Heart Syndrome is real. Anyone who has lost a loved one, gone through a particularly painful break-up or grieving for a lost pet will testify to that one.
But a metaphoric broken heart can (in some circumstances) actually lead to a cardiac arrest (amongst other things) which could ultimately lead to death.
Have you ever made the observation that sometimes one grandparent will pass soon after the death of their life-partner? What makes an ordinarily healthy person suddenly decline to the point of heart failure or worse?
Feeling heartbreak after a particularly traumatic event is a normal emotion but is one of the hardest things that you may every experience. This emotion may lead to a decline in your immune system, for example. There are strong links between stress, depression, mental health and heart disease.
In a recent interview by The Today Show, Australian Heart Surgeon Dr. Nikki Stamp sheds light on this issue. Dr. Stamp has written a book, “Can you die of a broken heart?”, which is a Heart Surgeons insight into what makes us tick.
She says, “Technically you can die from a broken heart”, but fortunately most of us will not.
In triggers such as divorce, separation or bereavement we find that the stress hormone response on your body puts an enormous pressure on your heart especially on the first month or so following the emotional incident.
So what happens to your heart that could lead to that death?
There is a connection between your emotions (brain) and your body.
Broken heart syndrome, also called stress-induced cardiomyopathy or takotsubo cardiomyopathy, can strike the most healthy of us.
After an emotional broken-heart, there is a significant hormone release driven by the brain. From this stress, adrenaline, cortisol is released which places stress on the heart. Additionally, your immune system is down which may trigger colds and flu symptoms.
Because the symptoms and test results are similar to a heart attack, often broken-heart syndrome if misdiagnosed. The rhythm and blood substances that are typical of a heart attack, but there may be no evidence of blocked heart arteries. A part of your heart may temporarily enlarge and won’t pump well, while the rest of your heart functions normally or may display with even more forceful contractions.
So what do we need to do to look after our broken heart?
We need to look after ourselves – our health, lifestyle and nurture our relationships. It’s very easy to turn to comfort food or alcohol or make excuses not to exercise, but this will not help. Additionally, we mustn’t forget to talk to the people we love – don’t close yourself and your feelings up. Everyone is going through stuff. We need to maintain a healthy mind and body.
This too shall pass
Just remember grief will fade in time. It get’s better!
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