Yes, You Can Die of a Broken Heart

“Broken Heart Syndrome” or, takotsubo cardiomyopathy, was once thought to be a myth, but researchers have found that individuals, particularly women, can die of a broken heart. The chest pain associated with the syndrome usually follows a traumatic event, such as hearing of news of a loved-one’s death or surviving a potentially deadly accident.

Medical Daily reported on the study:

“The study, published in the American Journal of Medicine, revealed only 10 percent of the test subjects were male, making the condition an overwhelmingly female-dominated condition. At first, the symptoms mimic a blocked artery, so doctors proceed by administering an angiogram to X-ray the heart’s blood vessels. Then they hone in on the heart’s left ventricle with a cardiac MRI or CT exam to see if it matches the distinctions found in the hearts of takotsubo cardiomyopathy patients.”

Medical intervention may not be enough to help someone with Broken Heart Syndrome.

“The abnormal contractions of a broken heart usually go away after one to four weeks, but if the pain persists longer, patients receive aggressive treatments, such as blood pressure medication and breathing machines. Of the 45 patients treated, nine died despite the interventions administered by medical teams. Sharkey said the study’s results were important in highlighting the health dangers of a broken heart, especially for high risk groups such as those with cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, advanced age, or those with bleeding on the brain.”

The more frail or medically compromised a person is, the more likely a broken heart can kill.

Addicts respond to trauma differently than those who die of a broken heart. Instead of facing the trauma, the addict does not have the skills or ability to process the traumatic experience/information. Instead of working through their feelings, the addict numbs by using substances or behaviors to avoid feeling anything at all.

Difficult experiences happen to all of us. It is important to find ways to process the feelings that come with traumatic events effectively. Look to friends, family or professionals to help you through difficult periods. Help is available.

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