Who thought being proposed to can be a dangerous event for your heart? According to a new study, experiencing too much happiness can be heartbreaking.
It’s been known for some time that tragic events, such as the loss of a spouse, can cause the ‘broken heart syndrome.’ Similar to how a heart attack feels, the condition needs to be treated quickly otherwise it can be fatal.
For the first time, however, health experts have found that being overly excited can also trigger this condition, which they call ‘happy heart syndrome.’ In other words, being happy can also be lethal.
Ever since the ‘broken heart syndrome’ was first identified and described in 1990, doctors at the University Hospital Zurich in Switzerland have been putting together a database of patients suffering these attacks worldwide; 1750 patients have been registered so far.
The great majority of attacks had been caused by severe emotional distress, such as grief, anger, and fear. One of the common factors for most of these ‘broken heart syndrome’ was attending funerals.
But doctors were surprised to find out that for 20 people, the condition was sparked by joyful and happy events, such as a wedding, a birthday party, a surprise farewell celebration, or the birth of a grandchild.
According to study author Dr. Jelena Ghadri, resident cardiologist at the University Hospital Zurich, doctors should be on the lookout for happy events not just sad ones when looking for a heart problem diagnosis.
When patients arrive in the emergency department with symptoms of heart attacks – breathlessness and chest pain – clinicians should inquire about both sad and happy events. Broken heart syndrome is no longer the only one able to cause such suffering; your heart can also have experienced too much happiness.
Doctors characterize this condition by an unexpected weakening of the heart muscles; even though this is temporary, it causes the heart’s left chamber to blow up like a balloon. And because it forms the shape of a Japanese octopus trap, the condition’s clinical name is Takotsubo syndrome.
Women are affected by this condition in particular, with 95 percent of all patients in the database accounted by women; average age of the patients is 65 years old.
As Dr. Christian Templin said, the primary investigator of the University Hospital Zurich, further investigation is needed for clinicians to understand exactly how the “broken” and “happy” heart problems occur.
So far, health experts believe the broken heart syndrome has something to do with both psychological and, or physical stimuli, involving the brain as much as the cardiovascular system.
Image Source: Gored for Women