Shortness of Breath
Difficulty breathing is also one of the signs of Takutsobo cardiomyopathy. It could also be accompanied by sweating, nausea, vomiting, and palpitations. If you’re wondering how palpitation feels like, it would seem like your heart is pounding, fluttering, or skipping a beat.
Like what happens during a heart attack, a person with stress cardiomyopathy may also experience loss of consciousness or fainting. Before this, they might also feel dizzy or weak.
How Do You Differentiate Heart Attack from Takotsubo?
Since the symptoms of broken heart syndrome are very similar to the signs of heart attack, there’s no way to tell the difference until doctors perform further testing.
The tests include:
- Angiogram. An angiogram is an imaging test meant to see the insides of the blood vessels. If a person’s angiogram results do not show blockages in the coronary arteries, they can breathe a little easier. That’s because they are probably experiencing Takotsubo and not a heart attack. Experts say that the most common cause of heart attack is the presence of blockages in the coronary arteries.
- Check for cardiac biomarkers. Cardiac biomarkers are substances seen in the blood when there’s damage to the heart. The biomarkers of a person suffering from a heart attack take a longer time to rise, but the peak is higher. In stress-induced cardiomyopathy, there’s only a “rapid and small rise” in the biomarkers.
- Echocardiogram. Another imaging test, an echocardiogram of someone who has Takotsubo would show the telltale apical ballooning. In other words, it will show that the left ventricle has assumed the shape of the octopus-trapping pot.
Because there’s no way of knowing whether you are suffering from Takotsubo or heart attack by merely looking at the signs and symptoms, you must see a doctor immediately when you experience chest pain, shortness of breath, and fainting.
Can You Prevent the Broken Heart Syndrome?
The truth is, there are no definitive preventive measures for stress-induced cardiomyopathy. However, you could still try to do the following.
Recognize and Manage Stress
Despite the lack of scientific studies, experts highlight the importance of stress management since distressing events often cause the condition.
Aside from doing stress-reducing activities, like relaxation techniques, you could also try recognizing the symptoms of stress. In doing so, you would be more prepared to manage it.
Know if You Are at Risk
It would also help to know if you are at risk of developing the symptoms of broken heart syndrome. According to reports, women are 8 to 9 times more likely to suffer from Takotsubo than men.
Interestingly, the risk heightens after a woman experiences menopause. That is why the majority of Takotsubo patients are women in their 60s.
Because of hormonal changes, post-menopausal women often have a decreased level of estrogen compared to younger ladies. This is an important idea since estrogen can protect the heart against stress hormones.
Lastly, although post-menopausal women are at higher risk, men and younger women could also suffer from stress-induced cardiomyopathy.
If you already suffered from stress-induced cardiomyopathy, the doctor might recommend long-term treatment involving medications. The medications could be beta-blockers or something similar that would protect the heart from the dangers of stress hormones.
Is Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy Fatal?
Most people do. The heart muscles may heal within 2 to 4 weeks and the majority of the patients make full recovery in 2 months. During your recovery, however, you may need regular check-ups and imaging tests to see your heart’s status.
In rare cases, broken heart syndrome could be fatal. It could also result in some complications including low blood pressure, heart failure, and the presence of fluid in the lungs.