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February 11, 2005

Can A Broken Heart Really Kill You?

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers at Johns Hopkins University have found that emotionally stressful situations, like a loved-one's sudden death, may trigger heart failure symptoms in some people.

The investigators noticed that these individuals had abnormally high levels of stress hormones, which can be toxic to the heart muscle. They hypothesized that this temporary weakening of the heart muscle may be triggered by the stress hormones.

Reversible heart damage seen in times of emotional stress is not nearly as common as a true heart attack, which results in permanent damage to heart muscle.

"Many doctors tend to discount the role of severe stress in heart disease," said Abraham. He explained that stress on its own, whether emotional or physical, is a risk factor for traditional coronary artery disease, and it also tends to cluster together with other known risk factors like smoking, a fatty diet and lack of exercise.

She advises that along with eating a healthy diet, exercising and not smoking, people should incorporate some form of stress management like yoga or meditation into a daily routine. And don't forget the value of massage in stress management.

Posted by linda at February 11, 2005 12:21 PM

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