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Are you breaking your own heart? Literally

February is not just Valentine’s Day and Black History Month. It’s also American Heart Month and “broken heart syndrome” is a real condition. The medical term for “Broken Heart Syndrome” is stress cardiomyopathy or Takotsubo cardiomyopathy. We often talk figuratively about having a broken heart but many people have physically experienced it. The condition is due to a period of high emotional or physical stress that rapidly weakens the heart muscle.

The symptoms are very similar to a heart attack.

Sudden, severe chest pain (angina) – a main symptom

Shortness of breath – a main symptom

Weakening of the left ventricle of your heart – a main sign

Fluid in your lungs

Irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias)

Low blood pressure (hypotension)

Broken heart syndrome mostly affects women (about 88%), especially in later middle age. No surprise! We’re all going through a mid-life crisis. Treatments include heart medications, anti-anxiety drugs, stress management, and cardiac rehabilitation. It’s not as deadly as a real heart attack but it could lead to a real heart attack.

How do you avoid having Broken Heart Syndrome?

You relax. Find ways to ease your mind and body. Life is hard and even harder in a narcissistically abusive relationship but you must find a way to manage your emotions. If you have to walk, find the courage to do it. I learned this the hard way and nearly died.

Stop freaking out about everything. Accept the things you can’t control and do your best with what you can control. Celebrate small victories and put up boundaries if something or someone is hurting you. Life is too short to keep trying to fix broken people and things. Most important, stop breaking your own heart.

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