Do you know 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, or a natural disaster such as an earthquake. 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.

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.

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.

There is no standard treatment for broken-heart syndrome. It depends on the severity of symptoms, and whether the person has low blood pressure or evidence of fluid backing up into the lungs. Clinicians often recommend standard heart failure medications such as beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, and diuretics (water pills). They may give aspirin to patients who also have atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in the arterial walls).

Although there’s little evidence on long-term therapy, beta blockers (or combined alpha and beta blockers) may be continued indefinitely to help prevent recurrence by reducing the effects of adrenaline and other stress hormones. It’s also important to alleviate any physical or emotional stress that may have played a role in triggering the disorder.

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