What Causes of Broken Heart Syndrome, and Its Treatment

Doctor’s claim women are more emotional than men, and it is one of the main reasons why women are more affected by broken heart syndrome over men.

What is this broken heart syndrome?

When a person’s heart muscles undergo a temporary weakness upon hearing some shocking news, like loss of a loved and dear one, we call this state as broken heart syndrome. Studies find that nearly 50% of Asians are affected by this problem, and out of it, over 90% are women.

This temporary weakness to heart muscles is also called as “Stress-Induced Cardiomyopathy” or “Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy”.

Why this problem occurs?

Broken heart syndrome can happen due to two major reasons, one is due to high levels of expressed emotions, and another reason is due to problems with bodily functions.

Reasons like the sudden death of a beloved one, being fired from the job, divorce, unexpected and unacceptable disappointments are the major reasons for this problem.

Even high level of happiness is one the reason for this problem.

Apart from this, physical problems like epilepsy, stroke, breathing problems, excessive bleeding can also lead to broken heart syndrome.

Situations like, chasing dog, traveling on a plane for the first time, giving a speech to a huge gathering, and any uneasy situations create a sense of fear, stress, and palpitation. During these times, our body secretes excess levels of adrenaline hormone. This problem occurs only when this hormone is secreted in high levels.

Why does this problem affect women the most?

Psychologically women are more emotional over men. It could be any emotion like, happiness or sadness, expression of these emotions is always high among women.

It is this nature of women makes them more vulnerable to broken heart syndrome. Additionally, chances for its occurrence is increased by several degrees in women who are older than 50 years, and those who crossed their menopause stage. These women have lower levels of estrogen secretion and this hormone plays a major role in protecting the heart. So, the absence of it increases the chances for this problem by a large degree.

Is Broken Heart Syndrome and Heart Attack One and the Same?

Heart attack occurs because of blockage in arteries and nerves that carry blood to the heart. But, broken heart syndrome happens because of high levels of adrenaline secretion.

As the symptoms of both conditions are similar to one another, it can only be differentiated by carrying out angiogram. Angiogram will reveal if there are any blocks in arteries and nerves that carry blood to the heart. When there are no blocks, it confirms broken heart syndrome.

Once the heart muscles get affected due to heart attack, it cannot be brought back to its normal condition. So it increases the chances of future attacks.

But, with broken heart syndrome, the affected heart muscles with turn back to its normal state within two to three months time frame. So the chances for its reoccurrence is much less.

What is the best treatment?

When a person expresses symptoms of broken heart syndrome, he or she needs to be immediately taken to a hospital. Doctors will take appropriate tests to find out if it is the heart attack or broken heart syndrome and proceed with appropriate treatment. If it is the heart attack, then it would be essential to take necessary medications to remove the block. Else, if there is no block in the heart, then it would be enough if the patient is given medications for broken heart syndrome.

Will long lasting depression turn into broken heart syndrome?

Chances for high levels of adrenaline secretion due to long lasting depressions are very less. So, psychological problems like stress, depression, and anxiety do not lead to broken heart syndrome.

How to Prevent?

  • Regular counselling sessions with a psychologist can help to overcome undesirable situations and circumstances.
  • People who are already affected by this problem would definitely need counselling.
  • We need to develop the habit of sharing our emotions, be it happiness or sadness. Also sharing information should be done based on the emotional capacity of the person who listens.
  • If you consider yourself to be emotional, then stay away from situations that can trigger sadness and negative emotions.
  • Practicing Yoga and Meditation regularly will be of great help.
  • Though it is very difficult for any person to bear the loss of a loved one, always have a hope that there is more to life which is yet to be explored. Life is to live, so be strong.