COVID Has Increased Cases of Broken Heart Syndrome

Have you heard the expression, “She died from a broken heart”? Doctors know it is more than a myth or an old wives’ tale. In fact, the condition is colloquially known as “broken heart syndrome.” The medical term for the condition is Takotsubo cardiomyopathy (TCM), named after a pot used by Japanese fishermen to trap octopi.1 The diagnosis was first introduced by a Japanese scientist in 1991. However, this was only the first time it had been described since people had been known to suffer from the condition. After the paper was published, several more cases appeared over the next 10 years, but it remained largely unrecognized outside of Eastern culture, as many of the papers were written by Japanese scientists. After the earthquake in Japan on October 23, 2004, 16 people were diagnosed with TCM. This large number in such a short period of time drew attention from those in the West. The name “broken heart syndrome” was coined in the early 2010s, in reference to those who experienced the condition after the death of a loved one. While doctors recognize TCM, no one knows for sure how or why it happens. Doctors know that it can be caused by serious physical illness, surgery or stressful situations that prompt extreme emotions.2 Broken Heart Syndrome Rising During COVID-19 Pandemic The mounting stress and lack of control that have been hallmarks of the COVID-19 pandemic caused researchers from Cleveland Clinic to investigate the incidence of TCM in a population of people admitted to the main Cleveland Clinic campus and Cleveland Clinic Akron General.3 The cardiologists gathered a cohort of 1,914 patients who presented with acute coronary syndrome both before and after March 1, 2020.4 There were 258 in the group who went to the hospital between March 1, 2020, and April 30, 2020; the others were seen before the pandemic was announced. These became the control group, which was separated into four groups by date. With the post-pandemic-announcement group, altogether there were five groups for comparison. After an analysis of the numbers of individuals, the researchers found there was a significant increase in people who were evaluated for TCM during the intervention period. This reached an incidence of 7.8% versus a range of 1.5% to 1.8% seen before the pandemic, across the four groups in the control.5 In addition to the increased numbers of people being treated for this, the data showed that those who presented with stress cardiomyopathy during the pandemic experienced lengthier hospital stays but had no difference in mortality. Dr. Grant Reed from Cleveland Clinic, and an author on the study, was quoted in a press release:6 "While the pandemic continues to evolve, self-care during this difficult time is critical to our heart health, and our overall health. For those who feel overwhelmed by stress, it's important to reach out to your healthcare provider. Exercise, meditation and connecting with family and friends, while maintaining physical distance and safety measures, can also help relieve anxiety." It May Feel Like a Heart Attack, But It Isn’t One Doctors from Cleveland Clinic say people with TCM often experience symptoms that feel like a heart attack. These can include shortness of breath and chest pain. However, after testing and examination, their coronary arteries are open without any damage to the muscle from lack of oxygenation. A person may also experience different symptoms, including an irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure and fainting. On examination and testing, doctors may find the left ventricle is enlarged. Doctors believe a physical reaction to emotional or physical stress increases the release of stress hormones that may briefly lower the heart's effectiveness at pumping blood. Although stress cardiomyopathy and a heart attack may look similar, patients who experience TCM generally recover in a few days or weeks and the condition is rarely fatal. Occasionally, patients have presented with other, more serious cardiac and cerebrovascular events triggered by TCM. Typically, physicians will treat high blood pressure and give medication to slow the heart rate. Additionally, Cleveland Clinic reports that medications may be prescribed to manage an individual’s stress level. Cardiologist Ankur Kalra led the study and said:7 “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about multiple levels of stress in people’s lives across the country and world. People are not only worried about themselves or their families becoming ill, they are dealing with economic and emotional issues, societal problems and potential loneliness and isolation. The stress can have physical effects on our bodies and our hearts, as evidenced by the increasing diagnoses of stress cardiomyopathy we are experiencing.” One unexpected and famous case some have speculated could be attributed to broken heart syndrome was the death of actress Debbie Reynolds shortly after the death of her daughter Carrie Fisher, who

COVID Has Increased Cases of Broken Heart Syndrome

Have you heard the expression, “She died from a broken heart”? Doctors know it is more than a myth or an old wives’ tale. In fact, the condition is colloquially known as “broken heart syndrome.” The medical term for the condition is Takotsubo cardiomyopathy (TCM), named after a pot used by Japanese fishermen to trap octopi.1

The diagnosis was first introduced by a Japanese scientist in 1991. However, this was only the first time it had been described since people had been known to suffer from the condition. After the paper was published, several more cases appeared over the next 10 years, but it remained largely unrecognized outside of Eastern culture, as many of the papers were written by Japanese scientists.

After the earthquake in Japan on October 23, 2004, 16 people were diagnosed with TCM. This large number in such a short period of time drew attention from those in the West. The name “broken heart syndrome” was coined in the early 2010s, in reference to those who experienced the condition after the death of a loved one.

While doctors recognize TCM, no one knows for sure how or why it happens. Doctors know that it can be caused by serious physical illness, surgery or stressful situations that prompt extreme emotions.2

Broken Heart Syndrome Rising During COVID-19 Pandemic

The mounting stress and lack of control that have been hallmarks of the COVID-19 pandemic caused researchers from Cleveland Clinic to investigate the incidence of TCM in a population of people admitted to the main Cleveland Clinic campus and Cleveland Clinic Akron General.3

The cardiologists gathered a cohort of 1,914 patients who presented with acute coronary syndrome both before and after March 1, 2020.4 There were 258 in the group who went to the hospital between March 1, 2020, and April 30, 2020; the others were seen before the pandemic was announced. These became the control group, which was separated into four groups by date. With the post-pandemic-announcement group, altogether there were five groups for comparison.

After an analysis of the numbers of individuals, the researchers found there was a significant increase in people who were evaluated for TCM during the intervention period. This reached an incidence of 7.8% versus a range of 1.5% to 1.8% seen before the pandemic, across the four groups in the control.5

In addition to the increased numbers of people being treated for this, the data showed that those who presented with stress cardiomyopathy during the pandemic experienced lengthier hospital stays but had no difference in mortality. Dr. Grant Reed from Cleveland Clinic, and an author on the study, was quoted in a press release:6

"While the pandemic continues to evolve, self-care during this difficult time is critical to our heart health, and our overall health. For those who feel overwhelmed by stress, it's important to reach out to your healthcare provider. Exercise, meditation and connecting with family and friends, while maintaining physical distance and safety measures, can also help relieve anxiety."

It May Feel Like a Heart Attack, But It Isn’t One

Doctors from Cleveland Clinic say people with TCM often experience symptoms that feel like a heart attack. These can include shortness of breath and chest pain. However, after testing and examination, their coronary arteries are open without any damage to the muscle from lack of oxygenation.

A person may also experience different symptoms, including an irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure and fainting. On examination and testing, doctors may find the left ventricle is enlarged. Doctors believe a physical reaction to emotional or physical stress increases the release of stress hormones that may briefly lower the heart's effectiveness at pumping blood.

Although stress cardiomyopathy and a heart attack may look similar, patients who experience TCM generally recover in a few days or weeks and the condition is rarely fatal. Occasionally, patients have presented with other, more serious cardiac and cerebrovascular events triggered by TCM.

Typically, physicians will treat high blood pressure and give medication to slow the heart rate. Additionally, Cleveland Clinic reports that medications may be prescribed to manage an individual’s stress level. Cardiologist Ankur Kalra led the study and said:7

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about multiple levels of stress in people’s lives across the country and world. People are not only worried about themselves or their families becoming ill, they are dealing with economic and emotional issues, societal problems and potential loneliness and isolation.

The stress can have physical effects on our bodies and our hearts, as evidenced by the increasing diagnoses of stress cardiomyopathy we are experiencing.”

One unexpected and famous case some have speculated could be attributed to broken heart syndrome was the death of actress Debbie Reynolds shortly after the death of her daughter Carrie Fisher, who died from a heart attack in 2016.8

Although Reynolds died from a stroke, following a smaller stroke she’d had months earlier, the proximity to a major emotional stress lends credence to the potential that the cerebrovascular event was triggered by stress cardiomyopathy.

As Stress Levels Soar, Failing Economy Raises Risk of More

The American Psychiatric Association conducted a poll in March 2020 and found that 36% of people living in the U.S. believed SARS-CoV-2 had a severe impact on their mental health and 59% believed there was a serious impact on their day-to-day life.9

Some of the top concerns were a negative effect on their finances, fears of running out of food, medicine or other supplies, and fears that the pandemic would leave long-lasting effects on the economy. As the Cleveland Clinic team found, successfully coping with stress is more important now than ever. Yet, according to the Annual Stress in America 2020 survey:10

"The average reported stress level for U.S. adults related to the coronavirus pandemic is 5.9. When asked to rate their stress level in general, the average reported stress for U.S. adults is 5.4.

This is significantly higher than the average stress level reported in the 2019 Annual Stress in America survey, which was 4.9, and marks the first significant increase in average reported stress since the survey began in 2007."

The psychological impact of the pandemic continues as the stressors that affect mental health, such as isolation and lockdowns, are replaced with apprehension about returning to public life.

A review of the research by scholars at King's College London revealed that during quarantines, people have heightened fears of infection, greater levels of frustration and boredom and inadequate information with which to make sense of it all.11 Once the quarantine is lifted, this may shift to stress over financial loss and fears of being treated with suspicion or being avoided by others who are anxious about getting sick.

Experts also know there's a strong connection between financial challenges and mental health problems; this includes suicide. During the Great Depression, suicide rates reached an all-time high,12 peaking again in 2008 to 2010 when at least 10,000 “economics suicides” happened.13

The mental health hotline run by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration had a 1,000% increase in April 2020 as compared to April 2019.14 Benjamin F. Miller, chief strategy officer of Well Being Trust, a national foundation dedicated to mental, social and spiritual health, said:15

“Undeniably policymakers must place a large focus on mitigating the effects of COVID. However, if the country continues to ignore the collateral damage — specifically our nation’s mental health — we will not come out of this stronger.”

Stress Reduction Is Important to Overall Health

The effects of stress are felt throughout your body, from the damage to your heart to the arrival of gray hair. Although, from an evolutionary perspective, the stress response is lifesaving, chronic stress has the opposite effect. Data from a study of siblings show that people who have stress-related disorders are far more likely to develop cardiovascular disease compared to siblings from the same family without a stress disorder.16

The term “cardiovascular disease” does not relate specifically to TCM, but, rather, it includes diseases such as ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, high blood pressure, heart failure and arrhythmia conduction disorders. More interestingly, within the first year of being diagnosed with a stress disorder, the risk for cardiovascular disease rose even higher, to 64% greater than a sibling without stress-related health problems. The authors wrote:17

“Most people are, at some point during their life, exposed to psychological trauma or stressful life events such as the death of a loved one, a diagnosis of life threatening illness, natural disasters, or violence.

Accumulating evidence suggests that such adversities might lead to an increased risk of several major diseases (including cardiovascular morbidity, injury, infection, and certain autoimmune diseases but not cancer) and mortality, with the largest risk elevations usually noted among people who develop psychiatric disorders as a result of their trauma.”

Chaos Raises Stress Levels — Here’s How to Take Control

One major trigger for stress is the perception of loss of control.18 Whether it’s a loss of physical, mental or financial control, the chaos can increase your stress levels and drive physical illness.

You may reduce your stress levels by taking back a measure of control in your life. One of my favorite techniques to help reduce stress and increase creative problem solving is Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). The process is also called tapping and it’s a tool that can help free your mind to fully address challenges without fear.

Taking control of the situation may mean learning more about how the pandemic affects your health and what you can do to reduce the potential risk of severe disease. You’ll find more about this on my Coronavirus Resource Page where you’ll find articles about fighting the illness, the signs and symptoms to watch for and what’s the latest in the news.

One of the strongest strategies you can currently use is to raise your level of vitamin D to between 60 ng/mL and 80 ng/mL. You’ll find a great deal of information in my article, “The Most Important Paper Dr. Mercola Has Ever Written,” plus a link to download a free report to help you and your family effectively raise your vitamin D levels.

It is also important to avoid nonstop or excessive viewing of mainstream media. The news programs make their money on views and clicks. The more salacious and fear-producing the headlines, the higher the readership. However, what’s good for their bottom line is bad for your health.19

If you like staying up to date on the news, pick and choose your programs wisely and watch or read for a prescribed amount of time each day to keep your fear and anxiety levels to a minimum.

Source : Mercola More   

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Spain Is Facing a Second Wave of Coronavirus Outbreaks. Here’s What to Know

Authorities in Spain prohibited anyone from entering or leaving the town of Totana in the southeastern part of the country yesterday, after 55 people who went to a local bar tested positive for COVID-19. The town, home to 32,000 people, is one of many in Spain to go back into lockdown, as the country struggles…

Spain Is Facing a Second Wave of Coronavirus Outbreaks. Here’s What to Know

Authorities in Spain prohibited anyone from entering or leaving the town of Totana in the southeastern part of the country yesterday, after 55 people who went to a local bar tested positive for COVID-19. The town, home to 32,000 people, is one of many in Spain to go back into lockdown, as the country struggles to contact trace and get a handle on new outbreaks popping up across the nation.

Spain was home to one of Europe’s worst COVID-19 outbreaks, experiencing 270,166 cases and 28,429 deaths since January. The country also had the world’s highest reported rate of COVID-19 infection for doctors and nurses. But after four months in one of the strictest lockdowns on the continent, Spain lifted its state of emergency on June 21 amid lower case numbers and fatality rates, reinstating people’s freedom of movement and opening borders to some countries.

A month later, Spain is facing another surge in cases. Widespread neglect of social distancing rules and limited contact tracing have driven spikes in new daily infection rates that has forced the government to place parts of the country under temporary lockdown again.

Although other European countries like Germany and Portugal have also seen the number of new daily cases tick up, they have not been on the same scale as Spain. On Wednesday, 730 new infections were reported in Spain, the highest increase in new daily cases since May 8. Spanish health officials reported on July 20 that the infection rate has tripled in just over two weeks from 8.7 per 100,000 people infected on July 3, to 27.4 per 100,000 this week. Salvador Illa, Spain’s health minister, said on Wednesday that there are 224 local outbreaks throughout the country and warned that if they cannot be kept under control, he will be forced to call another state of emergency.

Here is what to know:

How did Spain handle its reopening?

When Spain began slowly lifting its lockdown in early June, social distancing protocols were put in place.

People were required to stay 1.5 meters (4.9 ft) apart in public and face masks were compulsory for anyone over the age of six if maintaining social distancing was not possible. Bars and restaurants opened with limited capacity as did cinemas, theatres and exhibitions.

By June 21, Spain began lifting some border controls, and reopened its border with Portugal on July 1.

But experts say that the rush to reopen the country to tourism may have led to a rise in new infection rates. “We faced a lot of pressure from the tourist industry because it’s one of the main economic sectors of Spain,” says Dr Jacobo Mendioroz, the director and coordinator of the committee responding to coronavirus in Catalonia. “We may have rushed into opening all the big stores, just to have tourists coming into our country.”

Where have the outbreaks occurred?

The first outbreaks were in care homes and slaughterhouses in Lleida, a city west of Catalonia. Two other northern regions, Galicia and Aragón, also experienced outbreaks.

By July, thousands of seasonal workers from Morocco and sub-Saharan Africa working as fruit pickers in northeastern Spain also tested positive for the virus. The migrant workers live in overcrowded homes, making social distancing difficult, exacerbating the spread of the virus.

But the infection rate appears to be rising particularly among teenagers. The number of people between the ages of 10 and 19 who tested positive with COVID-19 have increased sevenfold over the past month. While young people are less likely to require hospitalization if infected with COVID-19 than older patients, the spike in infections rates among this demographic remains concerning given young people’s potential to spread the virus to vulnerable populations. Getting younger people to socially distance, however, is challenging. “It’s hard to tell young people not to have gatherings together,” Mendioroz says.

Why is Spain struggling to get a handle on new outbreaks?

Many experts attribute these local outbreaks to a lack of contact tracing. People who have tested positive for the virus in Spain have reported that they were not asked to provide a list of people or establishments they came into contact with in the two weeks leading up to their diagnosis. Sonia Ramírez, a 21 year-old Spaniard from the northeast region of Catalonia, told the Associated Press that after testing positive for the virus, she independently had to warn family and friends of possible exposure. “They didn’t ask me who I had been with,” Ramírez told the AP. “They didn’t even ask if I had been to work recently, which of course I had.”

The virus is also spreading quickly as a result of people and establishments failing to follow social distancing protocols. A club in Barcelona, for instance, has been accused by regional officials for allowing more people into their establishment than permitted, resulting in 91 people testing positive with the virus (club officials insist they followed the guidelines).

Whether large cities like Barcelona will have to lockdown remains a question. Ada Colau, the left-wing mayor of Barcelona, has cautioned that the government is considering bringing in some restrictions for inhabitants of the city but says it will not return to a full lockdown as it did in March.

The uptick in new cases has neighbouring countries worried. Jean Castez, the new French Prime Minister, has warned that France may be forced to close its borders with Spain if numbers continue to rise. “This is an issue we are following closely,” Castez said while visiting Prades, a French city on the border of Spain.

What can other countries learn?

Although other countries can learn from Spain’s mistakes with contact tracing and opening border too quickly, Mendioroz says that the key to curbing the spread of the virus is clear communication with the public about the pandemic.

“We didn’t manage to communicate well that this pandemic will last a long time and that the protective measures should be implemented at all times,” he says. “I think the more we can communicate that the pandemic can be maintained through collective responses instead of through authoritarian measures, the more people will be joining this kind of safe behaviour.”

Source : Time More   

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