I guess there really is such a thing as a broken heart 💔
Let’s talk about stress and what it can do to our bodies
About two years ago, while I was setting up my health portal for an upcoming procedure, some really scary word combinations like “heart” “blockage” etc started trickling in. 😳 My doctor agreed that I needed to look into this matter, and we decided to postpone the procedure.
I scheduled an appointment with a cardiologist that my mother had been seeing, where we immediately learned that I had a blockage on an EKG. I would eventually undergo all of the typical diagnostics, up to and including an angiogram. I had myself braced for open heart surgery…but everything checked out and I was diagnosed with a Left Bundle Branch Block and put on a “heart failure regiment” (without heart failure)
I’ve continued to be followed and continue to improve. We were told at one time that this sometimes fixes itself. Luckily, that seems to be the case for me. Yesterday, I had another follow up with him and learned the following:
Broken heart syndrome is very real
My cardiologist believes that I have “Takotsubo cardiomyopathy”, AKA “stress-induced cardiomyopathy” (or broken heart syndrome).
Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is a weakening of the left ventricle, the heart’s main pumping chamber, usually as the result of severe emotional or physical stress, such as a sudden illness, the loss of a loved one, a serious accident. The main symptoms are chest pain and shortness of breath. In my case, I am not symptomatic. We caught mine early enough!
The precise cause isn’t known, but experts think that surging stress hormones (for example, adrenaline) essentially “stun” the heart, triggering changes in heart muscle cells or coronary blood vessels (or both) that prevent the left ventricle from contracting effectively. Broken-heart syndrome occurs more often in women than men, especially after menopause..
What kinds of emotional and physical stress can cause broken heart syndrome?
Examples of sudden emotional stressors that can bring on broken heart syndrome include:
- Grief from the death of a loved one and other large or meaningful loss (eg, divorce/relationship, job, home, money, beloved pet).
- Good news (e.g., surprise parties, winning the lottery).
- Bad news.
- Intense fear (e.g., public speaking, armed robbery, car accident).
- Extreme anger.
I have no physical limitations anymore [well, when it comes to my heart]
I sure don’t have all of the answers, but it is really true: we have got to take care of this vessel we have been given before we can help anyone else! I have one more echocardiogram scheduled in 6 months, and if I continue in this direction, may be discharged as a patient. Now it’s my turn to get moving again and maintain where I am. I KNOW that is really, really good for my head. The whole “Mind, Body and Spirit”. It is when those 3 are connected that we find the calm and peacefulness. 🧘♀️ 👟🏃♀️
Make it a great week!