As many people know, sadness can have a great effect on you and when something particularly sad or stressful happens, it can be known as "broken heart syndrome."
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This condition is also known as stress cardiomyopathy or Takotsubo syndrome, and it causes the heart muscles to rapidly and severely weaken. While this ailment is temporary, it can lead to severe chest pain, heart attacks, and even death.
However, a new study published today in the European Heart Journal found that this phenomenon isn't only linked to sadness, but joyful and happy occasions can trigger the same response.
The researchers took data from the International Takotsubo Registry at the University Hospital Zurich in Switzerland, looking at 485 patients from nine countries.
The study found that 96% of the patients had broken heart syndrome triggered by stressful or sad events that included relationship problems, the death of a loved one, an accident, attending a funeral, and worries about illness.
However, an addition 4% of the group had the same response to joyful occasions like the birth of a grandchild, a wedding, or even their favorite sports teams winning. These were dubbed "happy heart" cases.
That is quite a small number, and therefore sadness is more likely to trigger TTS over happiness, and the long-term stress can be bad for your health. Stress and cardiovascular health are directly linked.
Researchers believe that this study "broadens the clinical spectrum" of the syndrome, and it should be something that everyone knows.
"We have shown that the triggers for TTS can be more varied than previously thought," study author Jelena Ghadri, a cardiologist at the University Hospital Zurich, said in a release. "A TTS patient is no longer the classic 'broken hearted' patient, and the disease can be preceded by positive emotions too. "
While TTS symptoms do resemble a heart attack, they are actually very different. Most people who have TTS are actually very healthy. Broken heart syndrome mainly affects women near 60, and women in general make up 95% of the cases.
We still don't know everything about this syndrome. More research is needed Christian Templin, a cardiologist at the University Hospital Zurich, said.
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"We believe that TTS is a classic example of an intertwined feedback mechanism, involving the psychological and/or physical stimuli, the brain and the cardiovascular system," Templin said. "Perhaps both happy and sad life events, while inherently distinct, share final common pathways in the central nervous system output."