Cardiology specialist Dr Dilek Cahide Haznedar Kırcı said severe stress increases the risk of a heart attack, as well as the risk of ‘stress cardiomyopathy’, also known as a transient stress-induced heart attack. Noting that the risk of heart attack is 21 times higher for those who have lost an important family member, Kırcı said: “Researchers state that when you lose a loved one who holds an important place in your life, your risk of heart attack increases 21 times on the day after your loss and 6 times after a week.
“While your risk of a heart attack increases after severe stress, so does your risk of stress cardiomyopathy, known as a transient heart attack that is primarily triggered by stress.” Noting that traumatic events, psychological stress and sleep disturbances are important risk factors for coronary heart disease, Kırcı said: “Depression is an important risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease and this effect is associated with other cardiovascular risk factors such as gender, body weight, activity, blood pressure and smoking known to be independent of the factors. Traumatic events, psychological stress and sleep disturbances are major risk factors for coronary artery disease, and acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) is associated with psychological stress. All your emotions, positive or negative, cause physiological changes and the level of stress experienced can cause many health problems. With the increase in adrenaline levels, known as the stress hormone, and the activation of the sympathetic nervous system, blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar levels increase. There are studies suggesting that stress can cause changes in the blood clotting pathway and in this way increase the risk of a heart attack. Researchers state that when you lose a loved one who holds an important place in your life, your risk of a heart attack increases 21 times the day after your loss, and 6 times a week later.
While your risk of a heart attack increases after severe stress, so does your risk of stress cardiomyopathy, known as a transient heart attack that is primarily triggered by stress. Kırcı said that the symptoms of stress cardiomyopathy are very similar to those seen in a typical heart attack, saying: “The symptoms of stress cardiomyopathy are very similar to those seen in a typical heart attack. Chest pain, shortness of breath, low blood pressure, and even congestive heart failure can occur. With broken heart syndrome, symptoms can begin soon after a very stressful experience, such as a death in the family, severe financial loss, extreme anger, domestic violence, diagnosis of a serious medical illness, traffic accident, or other serious trauma. While this picture can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention, it is often a temporary condition that does not cause permanent damage to the heart. Heart attack and broken heart syndrome are often confused with each other. However, there are differences between the two. A person with broken heart syndrome does not experience blockage in the arteries, but blood flow in the arteries of the heart is weakened. People with broken heart syndrome usually have normal arteries without major blockages. Symptoms occur due to emotional stress, and when the stress goes away, the heart can also recover. A typical heart attack, on the other hand, often develops as a result of blockages in the coronary arteries that stop blood flow and cause permanent damage by causing the death of heart cells. This condition, also called Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy, got this name because the left part of the heart resembles the craft used by Japanese fishermen to hunt octopus. Later, this definition was also known worldwide as ‘stress cardiomyopathy’ or ‘broken heart syndrome’.