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Press Here for 30 Seconds, And See What Will Happen to Your Body (June 2019).


Our central organ is not only threatened by risk factors such as cigarettes and cholesterol. Just as dangerous are fears, stress and depression.

Such a patient had not yet come to the heart specialists of the Offenbach Hospital. With 60 years of suspected heart attack, the 60-year-old reported her acute chest tightness - but neither ECG pattern nor heart catheter showed any abnormalities. Her heart pulsed in the usual rhythm, the coronary vessels were free and permeable. "The doctors said my case was a real puzzle, " recalls Christa Rogg. Other specialists also did not know what to do, although chest pain and cardiac tension persisted.

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Today, four years later, the puzzle is solved: The former stewardess suffered from Tako-Tso syndrome. In this disease, also known as Broken Heart Syndrome, the body spits out some insane amounts of stress hormones: their blood levels rise to 34 times normal. This causes the heart muscle to cramp and his owner feels violent chest pain and shortness of breath. Almost always it hits women, the reasons for this are unknown. It feels like a real infarction; nevertheless, the "broken heart" usually heals itself as soon as the acute spasm dissolves.

Only a few years ago, the Tako-Tso syndrome, which was described in Japan in the early 1990s and owes its name (translated: "octopus trap") to a bottle-like deformation of the left ventricle, is also being discussed in Western medical journals. This is mainly due to its rarity. One hundred arterial heart attacks are estimated to have one to two Broken Heart syndromes. It is no coincidence that the study of this unusual suffering falls into a time when the heart medicine rediscovers the patient's soul. There is a growing awareness that the cardiovascular system is threatened not only by classic risk factors such as overweight, nicotine consumption or high cholesterol, but also by fears or stressful life events. "Epidemiological studies show that such psychosocial factors play a role in every third myocardial infarction, " says Dr. Jochen Jordan, who runs the clinic for psycho-cardiology in Bad Nauheim. "People with depression, for example, are nearly as vulnerable to infarcts as chain smokers. On the one hand, they are under constant stress and, on the other, they often have an unhealthy lifestyle. "In contrast to Tako-Tso syndrome, which feels like an infarct but heals on its own, heart attacks caused by mental factors are real and life-threatening.

Psychology professor Jordan is considered a pioneer of psycho-cardiology. This new science explores how mental states affect our heart and how existing heart disease in turn pollutes the soul. Stress hormones play a decisive role here. "Catecholamines such as adrenaline suppress the activity of the immune system and promote creeping inflammation on the vessel walls. This causes plaque to build up and thicken the arteries until the vessel eventually closes. "In addition, stress hormones cause the cardiac stimuli to become unstable. It comes to arrhythmia.

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