Cancer can literally break your heart, a new study hints.
So-called & # 39; broken heart syndrome &, or stress cardiomyopathy, develops when the body is under such intense pressure that it disrupts the function of one part of the heart, forcing the rest to pump harder to compensate.
A new international study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, found that one in six patients with broken heart syndrome also has cancer or a history of the disease.
Often broken heart syndrome results from an emotional trigger, such as the death of a spouse, but those who had cancer had fewer immediate traumatic events.
And patients plagued by both conditions are likely to die within five years of diagnosis than patients with only & # 39; broken & # 39; hearts.
Cancer can play a role in breaking & # 39; & # 39; of hearts, Swiss research suggests that one in six patients with stress cardiomyopathy has had the disease
Although people have been talking about & # 39; love sorrow & # 39; have written, the actual broken-heart syndrome was only discovered in the nineties.
Before that time, doctors had largely rejected the idea that an emotional or physical traumatic injury could even damage the muscle.
Now about 1.2 million Americans estimate broken heart syndrome every year.
Also called & # 39; taksubo-cardiomyopathy & # 39; mentioned, this temporary but life-threatening heart condition is usually caused by stress, which causes the organ to twist.
WHAT IS & # 39; BROKEN HEART SYNDROME & # 39 ;?
Although best known as & # 39; broken heart syndrome & # 39 ;, the condition has two other names: stress cardiomyopathy and taksubo syndrome.
The last name comes from the shape that the heart takes during an episode of & # 39; heartbreak & # 39 ;.
The left pumping chamber of the heart extends outward like a balloon, while the base of the muscle inverts and pulls in.
The combined effect makes the heart too weak to pump the blood correctly.
And according to Japanese scientists who first discovered the phenomenon, the twisted heart resembles a & # 39; taksubo & # 39 ;, a pot that catches the squid.
Sudden heart syndrome causes symptoms similar to those of a heart attack, such as chest pain and breathlessness.
The exact cause and mechanisms of the Broken Heart syndrome are unclear.
But it tends to happen after shock, such as physical injury or infection or the news of the death of a loved one.
Scientists think that a sudden influx of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol causes the heart to become confused.
The condition affects more than one million in the US every year and is life threatening.
The main left room becomes larger and extends outwards, while the bottom turns inwards and takes the form of its namesake taksubo-pot, a barrel used to trap octopus in Japan, where the condition was first identified .
While being twisted in this way, the left side of the heart muscle cannot contract properly to pump blood.
This causes the rest of the heart to work extra hard and the overload can cause weakness of breathing and chest pain.
The symptoms are very similar to those of a heart attack, but exactly what or why a broken heart syndrome occurs remains a mystery.
Scientists suspect that the organ is flooded with stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline and faltering under the sudden flooding of these stimulants.
Occasionally the rare phenomenon occurs without a clear trigger, but most of the time it is caused by a catastrophically stressful event.
These can be purely physical, such as an infection, injury, psychiatric or neurological disorder or surgery.
But the syndrome is better known because it arose in the aftermath of an emotional shock such as natural disasters, the unexpected death of a loved one, quarrels, financial losses or divorces.
Occasionally, the condition is even caused by positive, unexpected events, such as surprise parties.
Previous research suggested that patients with broken heart syndrome could be worse and have more complications if they had already had cancer.
In addition, patients with a broken heart do not tend to have as many typical risk factors for heart disease as possible.
Now a new University Hospital Zurich-led research has strengthened the cancer-broken heart connection.
The researchers analyzed data on more than 1,600 patients with a broken heart and found that one in six of them had a history of cancer.
Patients with anamnesis cancer had a poorer chance of survival in the long term and were at greater risk of dying within five years.
Moreover, the percentages of psychiatric and psychological problems were about the same in both the group that had had cancer and the group that had not.
But fewer of the patients who had both cancer and broken heart syndrome developed the latter after an emotional trigger.
All in all, the results suggested to the study authors that broken heart syndrome can in some way be a cancer complication.
In other words, they claimed it could be a paraneoplastic syndrome, or a series of symptoms that occur as a result of cancer, even after the cancer itself is no longer present.
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