Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone. February 14 has come to be a day many people set aside to show and expect love in a very special way, especially among those who are in romantic relationships. The excitement and expectations among partners are so high and intensely emotional as this day draws closer. And the question is can any of these highly expectant lovers develop a disease called broken heart syndrome?
Broken heart syndrome is another name for a type of heart disease known as takotsubo cardiomyopathy. This heart condition manifests in a similar way as a heart attack (myocardial infarction): the affected person experiences a sudden chest pain and difficulty with breathing; some people can also vomit, have palpitations (feel their heart beating very fast) or temporarily lose consciousness (something called syncope). Broken heart syndrome usually occurs after a person has been severely stressed physically or emotionally. Emotionally stressful situations that have been linked to the broken heart syndrome in affected individuals include a very bad news about their finances (maybe they lost their lifesaving in an investment); death of someone they loved so much. And what else can cause a severe emotional stress? A break up of that wonderful, blissful relationship or any other disappointments on Valentine's Day could cause severe emotional distress which may result in takotsubo cardiomyopathy (broken heart syndrome).
Broken heart syndrome is initially treated as an emergency same way as a heart attack (myocardial infarction) because of the similar symptoms which make it difficult to differentiate the two at the onset. However, once the patient is stable, some important investigations are carried to rule out an actual heart attack. After this, the patient is placed on bed rest, monitored and given supportive treatment (like adequate fluids, periodic monitoring of their blood pressure and pulse, and so on). And the good thing is most people (over 90%) that develop broken heart syndrome recover completely within 2 months.
Another good thing is this broken heart syndrome (takotsubo cardiomyopathy) is very rare in this part of the world: it occurs mainly in Asians and whites (people in the western world). In addition, it occurs mostly in women who have passed through the stage of menopause. So, don't be scared. Your chances of developing this takotsubo cardiomyopathy (broken heart syndrome) from a breakup or a disappointment today (Valentine's Day) is very very low; in fact, it may not happen.
However, don't invest all your emotions on expecting a very special romantic treatment today. There are other health consequences of being emotionally disappointed: you can become depressed for days; if you don't hold yourself together, it could lead to a mental health issue such as a mood disorder. If you have a family history (it runs in the family) of hypertension or a heart disease and you let the disappointment that may happen today get a better hold of you, it could easily trigger hypertension or heart disease in you because of your genetic predisposition.
Being healthy is being physically, socially and mentally well at the same time. Happy Valentine's Day; but you should know that showing and receiving love should be done every day not just on a particular day.
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