Health & Fitness

“Broken Hearts” in Women After a Shock

Kristen Sparrow • November 18, 2011

I wanted to cite this article because of the implications in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). In TCM, the heart is the home of the spirit or Shen. So in treating disturbances of the Shen, the practitioner will treat the heart through the heart meridian and through the pericardium meridian. Interestingly, both of these meridians have been found to have a direct effect on the vagus nerve and the autonomic nervous system. So in this article when it explains how a “shock” can affect the heart through adrenaline etc…, TCM has had a way to treat that for millenia.
I’ve discussed these sort of overlaps before in this blog, here, for example. Of course, data on acupuncture and the autonomic nervous system can be found here, here, and here to name a few. I’d have to think about this further from a TCM standpoint why women would be more susceptible. The fact that women over 55 are more susceptible would suggest a yin/yang issue, but that’s speculative…

‘Broken heart syndrome’ hits women harder

Marilynn Marchione, Associated Press

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Orlando —

A woman’s heart breaks more easily than a man’s.

Women are seven to nine times more likely to suffer “broken heart syndrome,” when sudden or prolonged stress such as an emotional breakup or death causes overwhelming heart failure or heart attack-like symptoms, the first nationwide study of this finds. Patients usually recover with no lasting damage.

Japanese doctors first recognized this syndrome around 1990 and named it Takotsubo cardiomyopathy – tako tsubo are octopus traps that resemble the shape of the stricken heart.

It happens when a big shock triggers a rush of adrenaline and other stress hormones that cause the heart’s main chamber to balloon suddenly. Tests show dramatic changes in rhythm and blood substances typical of a heart attack, but no artery blockages that typically cause one. ..

“I was very curious why only women were having this,” said Dr. Abhishek Deshmukh of the University of Arkansas, who did the first large study of the problem and reported results Wednesday at an American Heart Association conference in Florida.

Using a federal database with 1,000 hospitals, Deshmukh found 6,229 cases in 2007. Only 671 involved men. After adjusting for high blood pressure, smoking and other factors that can affect heart problems, women were 7.5 times more likely to suffer the syndrome than men.

It was three times more common in women over 55 than in younger women.

Info on my practice here.