A phenomenon known as “broken heart syndrome,” can trigger severe, temporary heart muscle weakness that mimics a classic heart attack, Johns Hopkins scientists claim in a new report.
Their study describes 20 patients, almost all of them women, who were hospitalized with all the symptoms of heart attacks, including chest pain, shortness of breath, fluid in the lungs and drastically reduced ability of the heart to pump blood.
But careful study found the problems were just temporary, caused by a massive release of stress hormones called catecholamines that can “stun” the heart. They include adrenaline, and flood the body following emotional shocks ranging from news of a loved one’s death, to an armed robbery, to an auto accident, the report said. Rather than requiring the drastic treatment necessary for a heart attack, the patients needed only supportive therapy for a few days to allow the heart to recover, the researchers said.
“This kind of thing has been described by others,” said study author Dr. Hunter C. Champion, an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. But, he added, it’s still important to remind physicians that the cardiac problem might be due to stress cardiomyopathy, rather than a heart attack.
The Hopkins physicians are doing studies to determine how stress hormones can stun the heart, and whether there might be a genetic vulnerability to the condition, Champion said.
-New England Journal of Medicine.
Dr. Keith & Laurie Nemec comments on Heart Attacks Can Be Caused By a “Broken Heart”:
The importance of this study is to see how your mind affects your body. With the stress as the mind perceives it, adrenaline and other highly oxidative molecules are secreted which are good in survival scenarios where your life is threatened but if secreted because of mental/emotional stress they can promote disease formation.
Molecules like adrenaline if secreted in large amounts day in and day out lead to decreased blood flow to the internal organs including the intestinal tract where all the nutrients are absorbed. If you decrease blood to the intestinal tract you produce an inflammatory condition called Leaky Gut Syndrome which is the greatest source of maldigestion, malabsorption and toxicity in the body. With Leaky Gut the immune system is overloaded and it is the precursor to most diseases. This all can come from how you perceive the events in life. Some see the day as partly sunny, others see it as cloudy. The way you perceive the events in your life can dramatically affect your health.