Everything you need to know about takotsubo cardiomyopathy, also known as Broken Heart Syndrome

Edited by: Riya Ashok Madayi

Last updated: January 25, 2023, 11:56 am IST

The negative effects of stress are tension, anxiety and even the development of serious diseases.

Everyone experiences stress differently and it comes in different forms. Stress is explained by Dr. Rajpal Singh, Director of Interventional Cardiology at Fortis Hospital, Richmond Road, Bangalore, who also shares his insights on broken heart syndrome and related issues

Stress is a term that is often used in our daily lives. It is a general answer to deal with the daily changes and the challenges that come our way. There are instances that depress us emotionally, physically and mentally, causing the release of cortisol, the stress hormone, along with adrenaline, which tends to affect blood pressure, sleep patterns, blood sugar levels, and heart rate. Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, also known as broken heart syndrome, is one such heart condition that can result from an acute, severe form of stress.

Stress differs from person to person and has its own types such as acute, episodic acute stress and chronic stress. These variations are classified according to their features, signs, symptoms, duration, and treatment approaches. Stress is not always considered a bad thing, it is usually our response to day-to-day work. The right amount of stress motivates a person to be alert and think about their feet. However, too much stress can be harmful and can make us feel tense and anxious and even cause serious illnesses.

The three types of stress:

Based on various parameters, stress can be classified into the following types:

acute stress: One of the most common forms of stress, acute stress is the one with frequent presentation and occurs for a short period of time. It mainly occurs due to overthinking, negative thoughts about near future events or demands. These can be identified by three different problems such as transient emotional stress, headache, neck pain, sometimes transient gastrointestinal and intestinal problems, heartburn, sour stomach, flatulence, diarrhoea, constipation.

Episodic acute stress: With this type of stress, a person often shows frequent triggers of acute stress. People who often suffer from acute stress often lead a life of chaos and crisis. Their emotions are totally strained and disorganized. This type of stress can be found in two different personalities such as “Type A” personality and The “Worrier”. Type A personality is when acute stress is common, the person is aggressive, impatient and has a sense of urgency. These symptoms also lead to a heart condition called coronary heart disease. The worry type are the people who worry a lot and tend to have negative thoughts about everything.

Chronic stress: The serious, long-lasting, harmful form of stress is chronic stress, where the community may suffer from their aversive experiences in childhood or from traumatic experiences in their lives.

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Takotsubo cardiomyopathy:

Also known as broken heart syndrome or stress-induced cardiomyopathy, it is the weakening of the main chamber of the heart, the left ventricle. It is usually caused by severe emotional or physical stress. The causes are:

  • Unexpected loss of a loved one
  • A sudden accident
  • Sudden drop in blood pressure
  • Intense fear
  • Fierce quarrel Stress and heart: There is nothing wrong with saying that stress negatively affects the body, especially the heart. Heart and stress level are always linked, the more stressed a person is, the amygdala (part of the brain that handles stress) signals the bone marrow to produce more white blood cells. This causes the arteries to become inflamed, which can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and angina pectoris (a type of chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart). Broken heart syndrome is one such cardiovascular disease that can result from an acute, severe form of stress.

To prevent heart disease from stress, we should follow some simple tips in daily life, which would help to improve both mental and physical health. You don’t learn how to deal with stress in one go, but it’s about practicing every day.

Ways to cope with stress and help the heart:

  • Stay positive: A good laugh can help the heart, laughter lowers the level of stress hormones, reduces inflammation in the blood vessels and good HDL cholesterol.
  • Practice: Whenever the body is physically active, it releases mood-boosting chemicals called endorphins. Exercising not only melts away the stress, but also protects against heart disease by lowering blood pressure and strengthening the heart muscles. Lack of exercise, in turn, leads to weight gain and with it, the risk of developing coronary artery disease also increases. However, people should try to indulge themselves in physical activities such as yoga and meditation, the proven forms of therapies aimed at stress reduction.
  • Avoid psychiatric conditions such as binge eating, hypertension and diabetes. During stress, people often tend to binge, which can later lead to conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. Instead of cracking a bag of chips, load your diet with nutrients and antioxidants like salmon, avocado, asparagus, grass-fed beef and dark chocolate. It is important to accept the stress and face and fight the problem, make plans with friends to distract yourself from stressful situations, and take time for relaxation to calm yourself down.

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Wondering about the importance of stress management in everyday life shouldn’t be optional. It is necessary for everyone to read to reduce stress regularly with management tips to improve and save the heart. People also need to make sure they don’t rely on unhealthy habits like smoking or overeating to combat stress.

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Everything you need to know about takotsubo cardiomyopathy, also known as Broken Heart Syndrome

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