Women More Likely to Have Heart Attacks Over Broken Hearts
At one point or another in each individual's life he or she experiences a "broken heart." The adage "time heals all wounds," usually applies. But for some people, a broken heart is never overcome. John Donne's poem, "The Broken Heart" attests to this, when the speaker says that he, "can love no more." His heart has been shattered and the pieces can never be united again to love with the same intensity.
But did you know that there is a psychology and physiology to this phenomenon beyond poetry? In fact there's a condition known as "broken heart syndrome." Its symptoms are incredible stress from emotional upheaval and pain. What is its impact? The sudden stress causes overwhelming pressure on the heart, creating heart problems.
Sometimes people with the syndrome experience heart failure or heart attack-like symptoms. But the individual's condition abates within weeks and is not like long term congestive heart failure, attributable to other factors which have weakened the heart. With broken heart syndrome, there is no permanent damage. However, this is individual. In some cases, rare ones, it is fatal. (1%)
A classic example of this syndrome would be that after a woman has just suffered the loss of her son or husband, she has a heart attack or related heart failure. The attack is the heart's response to a surge of stress hormones." A part of the heart temporarily enlarges and doesn't pump well," while other sections of the heart function regularly and sometimes with forceful contractions. The condition originally called takotsubo cardiomyopathy is referred to as stress cardiomyopathy, stress-induced cardiomyopathy or apical ballooning syndrome.
According to new research this syndrome is experienced 7 to 9 times more often by women than by men. These findings, presented Wednesday, November 16th, at an American Heart Association conference in Florida by Dr. Abhishek Deshmukh of the University of Arkansas are the end result of a question Dr. Deshmukh asked himself. Why was it that mostly women suffered from the syndrome, but men did not?Continued on the next page