Time Does Not Mend A Broken Heart

Time Does Not Mend A Broken Heart.

First described in 1990 in Japan, 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, or a natural disaster such as an earthquake. 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. That’s why the condition is also called stress-induced cardiomyopathy, or broken-heart syndrome. The main symptoms are chest pain and shortness of breath. Years of gender-based research have shown that in matters of the heart, sex differences abound. More than 90% of reported cases are in women ages 58 to 75. Research suggests that up to 5% of women evaluated for a heart attack actually have this disorder, which has only recently been reported in the United States and may go largely unrecognised. Takotsubo symptoms are indistinguishable from those of a heart attack. And an electrocardiogram (ECG) may show abnormalities similar to those found in some heart attacks — in particular, changes known as ST-segment elevation. Consequently, imaging studies and other measures are needed to rule out a heart attack.

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