We’ve all heard stories where one person dies shortly after the death of a loved one. Broken Heart Syndrome isn’t common but is medically recognised. Does that mean that you can die from a broken heart?
Is it possible to die from a broken heart?
— Harriet Sugarcookie (@HSugarCookie) June 30, 2017
Almost everyone knows what it feels like to lose someone they love. The feelings of grief can be overwhelming and sometimes you feel physical pain from it as well. When we go through emotional stress it can often feel as if your hearts are constricting. This feeling is often brushed off as a mere psychological thing. However, in some rare cases, it could be due to an actual physical element.
People who suffer from Broken Heart Syndrome or Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy may have been affected by various things. It can be brought on from the death of a loved one, a breakup and in some cases, moments of extreme joy such as winning the lottery. In some ways, it’s very similar to a heart attack, as there are cases where it’s been brought on simply by a sudden shock or surprise.
What is Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy?
Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy is the medical term for Broken Heart Syndrome. It is described as “temporary condition where your heart muscle becomes suddenly weakened or stunned. The left ventricle, one of the heart’s chambers, changes shape.”
It is brought on by hormones released when you undergo great stress. More likely to affect women, symptoms include intense pain in the chest area. A lot of the reactions are similar to that of having a heart attack, and cases of takotsubo cardiomyopathy have been diagnosed as a heart attack before.
The difference between a heart attack and Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy can be seen in EKG tests. These look at the electric activity in the heart. Those that have Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy also show no sign of heart damage in blood tests. There can be ballooning or unusual activity on the lower left chamber of the heart.
Most cases of Ttakotsubo Cardiomyopathy recover quickly, much faster than a heart attack. Those that have physically died often have other contributing factors, such as depression and losing the will to live. It’s more likely to seriously harm older people or those with already poor health.
Treating a broken heart
Unfortunately, there’s no known medical cure for Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy. In most cases, people will recover very quickly. Some, however, suffer more serious and some people may also have reoccurring problems.
There are a lot of links to Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy with mental health. A good way to tackle it, or help someone who is experiencing it, is to work on improving their mental health.
It’s important to give support to those who may be going through grief. Increased social contact is important. Spend time with friends and family who will be able to help with the grieving process.