Broken heart syndrome - Risk of sudden stress

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Broken heart syndrome - Risk of sudden stress

According to a recent study, cardiologists found a significant increase in the incidence of broken heart syndrome during the COVID-19 pandemic, rising from 1.7%, pre-pandemic to 7.8% during the pandemic. Patients with the condition also tend to have a longer hospital stay in COVID time than patients pre-pandemic.

The term "broken heart" is not just a metaphor. It is a disease that can be caused by intense emotional stress, such as the one that accompanies the death of a loved one, or a sudden intense stress. In some cases, the experience of an acute emotional distress - such as a catastrophe or the death of a loved one - can actually cause physical symptoms similar to a real heart attack, such as shortness of breath, chest pain and fainting. There is no coronary occlusion as in a heart attack, but there is cardiogenic shock, in which the heart cannot supply the body with enough blood due to the effects of stress hormones on the heart cells. After temporary heart failure, the heart was thought to be fully recovered after the stressful event, but new evidence suggests that the damage is, in many cases, long-term. This was shown in a study conducted about two years ago by the British Society of Cardiology, which showed that cracked heart syndrome is more dangerous than experts believe, as it seems to cause long-term damage to the heart.

When stress is embodied

"The COVID-19 pandemic has caused multiple levels of stress in the lives of people around the world. ‘’People are not just worried about themselves or their sick families, but they face financial and emotional problems, social problems and possible loneliness and isolation," explains Ankur Kalra, MD, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic who led the study. "Stress can have physical effects on our body and heart, as evidenced by the increasing diagnosis of cardiomyopathy due to the stress we experience." Previous research found that the areas of the brain that manage stressful situations are also the ones that manage unconscious physical functions such as heart rate and respiration, suggesting that the interruption of communication in these areas of the brain may be what causes the symptoms of stress cardiomyopathy. Some doctors believe it may also be related to the release of cortisol, a stress hormone that may temporarily inhibit heart contraction.

How to relieve stress

How to relieve stress even while the pandemic continues to evolve and finding ways to reduce our stress is very important for both our mental and physical health. Those who feel overwhelmed by stress at this time, due to the loss of loved ones or due to job loss and financial difficulties should contact their doctor immediately for treatment.

In any case, exercise, meditation, connection with nature, family and friends, while maintaining physical distance and safety measures, can help relieve daily stress. Never forget your diet and eat well. If you believe you are not eating well then consider adding some quality vitamins and supplements to your diet. We have faith in ourselves, we continue to be capable and strong human beings and if we have already accomplished important things, most likely, in the future we will achieve even more.


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