Apparently so. For centuries, there have been songs and sonnets written about women who have died from unrequited love, death of a loved one, or from the shocking discovery that their “one and only has been cheating on them. Researchers and doctors have been puzzled for decades over patients who have died of heart attacks without any visible signs of decay from plaque in the blood vessels or blood clots of any kind. What experts in the medical profession are finding out now, is that grief, and and marital strife could be as much a cause of heart trouble as obesity and cholesterol.
Many people have known or have heard of couples that have been together for 30 years and longer who when one of them dies, the other passes away give or take, a year or so later.
What recent research has shown, is that loss of a loved one, a job, or money problems, can trigger “Takotsubo cardiomyopathy” so named in the 1990's by Japanese doctors. The name means octopus pot because the ventricles distort into the shape of a bulbous jar, used to trap octopuses.
Victims of “Takotsubo cardiomyopathy”, or “Broken Heart Syndrome”, as doctors in the Western world have named it, have even been in their thirties, but “Broken Heart Syndrome” seems to affect post menopausal women more than the rest of the population. In fact, out of 40 cases, only one of those will be male. Strangely these deaths are more frequent during the summer months. Why? Doctors and researchers are still trying to figure it out. But they are also speculating that there may be other reasons for “Broken Heart Syndrome other than a lost love. Major catastrophes, like 911, the San Francisco earthquake, and Hurricane Katrina seem to bring on the symptoms of Takotsubo cardiomyopathy as well. The death of a child, a major lawsuit, or any other situation that causes major stress, can also be factors.
Most doctors have ignored the emotional reasons behind a failing, or a sick heart. One cardiologist, whose patients kept coming back with the same clogged arteries, finally decided to open his own heart and listen to the personal problems of his repeat patients. What he found, stunned him. Most of them had either recently lost a loved one, or had recently gone through some traumatic event that they couldn't forget and which stayed with them, night and day. The doctor came up with a solution that so far, seems to have worked. He told his patient to get a dog. The dog took his patient's mind away from his problems and he was able to lower his stress level. It stands to reason that a cat might possibly have the same effect.
So is it stress of any kind that actually contributes to Takotsubo cardiomyopathy? The answer seems to be yes. So what can you do to minimize the risk?
Aromatherapy has been shown to help patients with “Takotsubo cardiomyopathy”. Several healing aromas, including Rose Otto, Jasmine Sambac, Neroli, Rosewood, and Lavender, according to experts in aromatherapy, staunchly believe that these scents have a calming effect on the heart. They can either be inhaled, applied to the skin, vaporized or used in the bath or shower.
So is it major stress of any kind that actually contributes to Takotsubo cardiomyopathy? The answer seems to be yes.
Studies have shown that sufferers of “Broken Heart Syndrome”, don't normally breathe deeply. So next time you're boyfriend breaks up with you, or your lover leaves you, or you get fired; take several deep breaths of Rose Otto, Jasmine Sambac, Neroli, Rosewood or Lavender. According to several aromatherapists, you should feel better shortly after you use these essences. If that doesn't work, take a walk down to your nearest animal shelter. It just may heal your heart, and save your life!
Andrea Hammett So can you really die of a broken heart? The Sun, published 22 Jan 2009
Jerome Burne Can you die from a broken heart? Last updated 25 July 2006
Rachel Naud, You can die of a broken heart. Canwest News service,
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