Did you know a broken heart is actually a thing?
“Broken Heart Syndrome” is also referred to as Takosubo Cardiomyopathy (heart muscle pain). A surge of adrenaline and other stress hormones triggered by sudden physical or emotional stress can cause reversible swelling of the heart’s left ventricle. The Japanese surgeon who first documented this condition felt that the changed left ventricle resembled a fishing pot used for trapping octopus- which translates as Takosubo. The symptoms of Takosubo Cardiomyopathy mimic a heart attack, but there is no permanent damage (phew!).
Occasionally, people seek our help for acute chest pain. If you come to our clinic about chest pain, we would first screen for any signs or symptoms that suggest an underlying heart or lung condition. In the absence of such signs, we would be curious about whether you had recently experienced a sudden stressful physical or emotional event (i.e. death of a loved one, relationship conflicts, fear, anger, anxiety or depression).
The symptoms of Broken Heart Syndrome include:
The good news is that the physical effects of Broken Heart Syndrome are transient, and the muscle changes will usually resolve in one to two weeks. But what about the emotional pain? Physical and emotional pain are processed in the same part of the brain – so it might appear that the pain continues longer. If that’s the case, you may need additional support to fully recover.
If you are suffering from a broken heart, we would encourage you take some basic practical steps to manage the stress in your life. We also recommend the practice of self-love, as this does not come naturally to many.