Is there such a thing as Broken Heart Syndrome? And if there is, could it only occur at age 65 and older?
Apparently, there really is a Broken Heart Syndrome and it usually affects men. It is where a part of a person’s heart temporarily enlarges and doesn’t pump well, while the rest of the heart functions normally or with even more forceful contractions. What’s even scarier is that it can occur even if an individual is of perfect health. So no matter what age, this ailment can affect anyone.
With the pandemic forcing people to live an unhealthy lifestyle, Cardinal Santos Medical Center (CSMC) vowed to spread awareness regarding the risk of this kind of living.
In their recent webicon called, “Where Do Broken Hearts Go? A Webicon on Broken Heart Syndrome and Other Cardiovascular Diseases You Didn’t Know You Might Have,” experts from CSMC’s Cardiovascular Institute such as Dr. Ariel A. Miranda, Dr. Lourdes Ella G. Santos, Head of Preventive Cardiology, and Dr. Rochelle Regina T. Cruz, Head of Critical Care and Heart Failure Unit, explained how it occurs and how to avoid it.
Dr. Cruz revealed that there were two types of broken heart syndrome. The first is “Heart Failure with reduced left ventricular function or reduced ejection fraction”, and the other is “Heart Failure with preserved left ventricular function.” Additionally, the most common symptoms of a person experiencing broken heart syndrome are chest pains and shortness of breath.
“According to studies, causes of heart failure fall into these categories: Coronary Heart Disease, Faulty Heart Valves, Cardiomyopathy, and High Blood Pressure. Heart failure happens if your heart can’t pump blood and causes it to overflow into your lungs. Often, they get shortness of breath, cough, chest pain, difficulty lying down, swollen ankles and legs, and extreme lack of energy. Risks come from family history, hypertension, obesity, age, and excessive alcohol drinking, diabetes, smoking, inactive lifestyle, and sleep disorders,” said Dr. Cruz.
CSMC also imparted the knowledge on how to differentiate broken heart syndrome from a heart attack. Since these two have almost the same indications, it usually misleads people that they are suffering from either of the two. However, broken heart syndrome usually occurs suddenly after extreme emotional or physical stress, thus its name “broken heart”.
With the growing advancements in Science and Medicine, the two ailments can now be distinguished through different tests.
CSMC, with its state-of-the-art facilities, have EKG, a test that records the heart’s electric activity. In this test, it can tell whether a person is having a broken heart syndrome or a heart attack. Coronary angiography can also reveal if there were signs of heart damage by showing if a plaque is narrowing or blocking the coronary arteries.
Still, people’s fear of going to the hospital worries the Chairman of the Cardiovascular Institute, Dr. Ariel Miranda. He stressed that once a person experiences typical symptoms of heart disease, treatment is critical.
“Patients have typical symptoms, but they fear going to the hospitals. They are afraid of spending a lot, but treating it early is essential,” said Dr. Miranda. “Patients should go to doctors without delay as heart attack needs to be given attention as soon as it is felt because prolonging it will increase damage and heart failure. It shouldn’t be taken lightly.”
Dr. Miranda added that if a person’s heart is found to have full of fat deposits, they should seek a doctor immediately, especially if they are men of age 45 and above.
But the good news is that cardiology has improved. And in CSMC, they are an expert in determining the severity of the illness.
“Innovations in cardiology have been so much especially in the field of preventive cardiology. In the past few years, there have been advancements and there is so much information about it out there. Heart attack is a silent killer, unless you are shown the numbers, and feel pain, that’s important. It only means the body is responding to extreme blood pressure. We are very careful in doing healthy guidelines, sometimes even level 4” said Dr. Miranda.
But since pandemic is still plaguing the world, CSMC has made adjustments in order to cater to non-covid cases. They now have separate areas that have different staff to ensure the safety of the patients.
Heart disease is no joke. If you are 40 years old and above, with a family history of heart ailments, consider going to CSMC to get the best medical care.