About Medicine; Dying of a broken heart

In 1964, February was designated by the Federal Government as American Heart Month. It is the month of the year that we should focus on making heart healthy choices in our lives. Unfortunately, heart disease remains the number one cause of death in both men and women around the world. Most of us are familiar with the traditional risk factors associated with heart disease. These risk factors include a history of smoking, hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol. In addition, a family history of heart disease is considered an additional risk factor. Unfortunately, few people realize that there is also a rather significant cardiovascular risk factor that we are all, one way or another, exposed to. I am talking about the risk factor of stress.

There is no better example of how stress can affect the heart then the condition “stress cardiomyopathy”. A stress cardiomyopathy has many names including “Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy”, “Broken Heart Syndrome”, and “Apical Ballooning Syndrome.” These are different names for the same syndrome in which intense emotional or physical stress can cause rapid and severe heart muscle weakness (cardiomyopathy).

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