Extreme Emotions Can Be Bad For You: Beware Of Happy Heart Syndrome, Broken Heart Syndrome

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Ever heard of the syndromes called ‘broken heart syndrome’ and ‘happy heart syndrome’? German scientists have discovered a rare syndrome in a study where excess happiness or excess sadness lead death. In the year 2002, a Japanese doctor Dr Hikaru Sato had discovered a condition due to which people could die of a broken heart. The condition was called Takotsubo cardiomyopathy or a broken heart syndrome. Broken heart syndrome states that a person could die after experiencing extreme stress due to any sad event. The happy heart syndrome however states that people could also die of too much happiness. Both of these syndromes have almost similar outcomes. It mainly affects a person’s heart and therefore it has been termed as takotsubo cardiomyopathy.

What Is A Broken Heart Syndrome?

The first and foremost fact to note is that this syndrome is very rarely fatal. That is why it is a rare syndrome. Broken heart syndrome was shown to be associated with significant emotional or physical stress. The exact mechanism by which the stress causes the change in the heart’s shape and the subsequent symptoms being chest pain and shortness of breath.

When a person is under massive stress, the hormones play a very important role in releasing catecholamines which severely affect the body and the heart. It leads to increase in the heart rate and eventually leads to a heart attack. This effect in stressful situations is not a surprise, as often the body and mind go into a fight-or-flight mode, which triggers the release of these catecholamines.

Stressful events that can trigger takotsubo syndrome include receiving bad news (such as a cancer diagnosis), the loss of a loved one, domestic violence, a car accident and even public speaking.

What Is A Happy Heart Syndrome?

Most recently, researchers in Germany have described patients with Takotsubo syndrome triggered by happy events, such as a wedding, the birth of grandchildren and winning the jackpot. Of 910 patients in the study who had an emotional trigger for Takotsubo syndrome, 37 had happy heart syndrome and 873 had broken heart syndrome. Unlike broken heart syndrome, which mainly affects women, happy heart syndrome was mostly observed in men.

Complications Of The 2 Syndromes

The complications arising due to these two syndromes were found out to be very similar. Experts also say that these syndromes especially effect one category of people. Some people have an abnormally shaped left ventricle the main pumping chamber in the heart. The ballooning symptom is responsible in weakening the heart muscle due to which it is unable to pump enough blood. So, there is no reason for everyone to get worried about getting emotional about life’s big events. They’re very unlikely to kill you. But if you do feel pain or pressure in your chest, always seek medical help.



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