Can Heart Break Damage Your Heart?
We’ve all heard the saying before: “I’m heart broken”. Difficult events cause us to feel overwhelming emotions, sometimes creating a sorrowful swell inside our hearts. However, despite the loss or breakup we find that our hearts are still pumping, even with some melancholy weight added onto it. So how did the hyperbole become so popular? Is there some truth behind the broken hearted feeling?
First referenced over 3,000 years ago, the term ‘heartbreak’ was used as a way to express emotional distress from longing for someone. The imagery has since been used in poetry, paintings, plays, songs, and everyday phrases.
A famously referenced “broken heart” occurs in Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet. After hearing her sons banishment, Lady Montague dies from a broken heart- which may have been thought as an over exaggeration- but could be more plausible after understanding the medical meaning of a broken heart.
Broken Heart Syndrome
Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy or Broken Heart Syndrome is a temporary heart condition that presents similar symptoms to a heart attack like chest pain, shortness of breath, and physical distress. Reports concur that about 2% of patients with a suspected heart attack actually had broken heart syndrome!
Stress, anxiety, and depression all play a big part in a ‘broken heart’. When you receive bad or stressful news, your body responds with a surge of adrenaline and cortisol hormones which elevate your blood pressure and increases your heart rate. These changes can create a dangerous setting for those who are already physically vulnerable for these kinds of heart conditions.
The condition usually reverses itself in a couple of days or weeks but can still be life-threatening. Although the heart muscle can withstand a lot, the influx of distress can create irreversible damage. In a study, out of 24,700 patients identified with Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy, there was a mortality rate of 4.2%, with a higher rate in males. So it turns out those poets and artists were not exaggerating: it is actually possible to die from a broken heart.
Playing on your heartstrings
Another source of broken heart syndrome is from the heart strings-or tendons- that have recently been concluded to break after emotional traumas. When the tendons break, it can cause the left ventricle (the chamber that pumps oxygenated blood out to the body) to change shape. This disrupture can lead to pain and shortness of breath, which on top of the emotional distress- can make you feel like your heart is actually breaking.
Mending a broken heart
Answering the age-old Al Green question, You can mend a broken heart by: Prevention and Tracking! While there are many health factors that can play at your heartstrings, there are emotional ones that can creep up on you too! It’s never too late to start logging vitals like heart rate, blood pressure and respiration rate. Luckily TAMVOES provides you with present and future analysis of your vitals, creating a comprehensive, easy-to-read projection of your health.
Don’t go breakin’ your heart by tracking your heart health, by downloading the TAMVOES app here.
Do you have a story you would like to share on Talkative? Send us a submission! And if you haven’t already, make sure you signup for a free TAMVOES account so you can get started on tracking all of your vitals to stay up to date with your health as it changes. Learn more on the TAMVOES platform.