- New research shows that broken heart syndrome is associated with higher rates of cancer.
- Broken heart syndrome can result from any extremely emotional experience.
- Protect yourself from health problems related to broken heart syndrome by relying on support, engaging in anti-stress strategies like meditation, and taking a supplement that relieves stress.
Research on How Emotional Trauma Can Lead To Cancer
Countless country songs have been written about trying to heal a painful broken heart, and they are popular because this is something almost all of us have experienced at one point or another. But broken heart syndrome is also an actual medical diagnosis known to have adverse effects to the cardiovascular system. And it could have an even wider impact on our health, as new research suggests that a broken heart might contribute to the development of cancer.
The study, which took place at University Hospital Zurich in Switzerland, found that Takotsubo syndrome—otherwise known as broken heart syndrome—may raise the risk of being diagnosed with cancer, and may lower survival rates five years later.1Cammann, Victoria L.; et al. “Clinical Features and Outcomes of Patients With Malignancy and Takotsubo Syndrome: Observations From the International Takotsubo Registry.” Journal of the American Heart Association. 17 July 2019. Accessed 21 July 2019. http://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/JAHA.118.010881. These results are based on an investigation that included more than 1,600 men and women with broken heart syndrome, which is defined as dysfunction in the left ventricle of the heart without the presence of cardiovascular disease after an intensely emotional experience. The subjects were found through medical registries in eight countries around Europe and the United States.
Cancer incidence among all the participants was significantly higher than what would normally be expected, across both gender and age divides. Among women up to the age of 44, the rate of cancer is typically 0.4 percent. However, among those with broken heart syndrome, it rose to eight percent. Among men between the ages of 45 and 64, the cancer rate is typically two percent, but among the study volunteers with broken heart syndrome it jumped to a whopping 22 percent. And in those older than 65, the cancer rates were double what was expected in those with broken heart syndrome. Cancer among broken heart syndrome sufferers were predominantly found in the breasts, digestive system, respiratory system, internal sex organs, and skin.
How Does Broken Heart Syndrome Occur?
Broken heart syndrome does not only develop in the lovelorn who have gone through a really bad breakup, divorce, or the death of a spouse. It can occur after any life event that elicits a major emotional response, such as the death of any loved one, loss of a job or other financial upheaval, and personal injury. In fact, paradoxically, broken heart syndrome can even be caused by something positive–but accompanied by stress–like getting married, moving to a new home, or having a child.
And we already know that a link exists between broken heart syndrome and coronary issues. Individuals with broken heart syndrome are more likely to experience two key indicators of a heart attack (considerable chest pain and shortness of breath) even though they are not actually having a heart attack. Instead, the stress hormones flooding their system are affecting the heart, enlarging the main chamber and reducing its ability to pump blood effectively.
Protecting Yourself from Broken Heart Syndrome
Unfortunately, sometimes the events that take place in our lives and cause us the greatest distress are completely out of our control. But when a major upheaval does occur, it is better to be aware of the health consequences that may arise, such as an increased cancer risk, and do everything we can to alleviate stress and prevent damage.
As Jon Barron has been saying for many years, stress and depression negatively impact the body and increase our risk of developing many conditions, including cancer. Living a healthy lifestyle all the time—not just when anything goes wrong—can offer you some protection from disease.
It is also important to recognize that you need a little extra help after your broken heart has occurred. That means:
- Seek out family and close friends to spend time with, as a network of support is essential for getting through tough times.
- Learn coping strategies such as meditation that can help you with daily stress but even more so with major stressors.
- And choose natural supplements that contain proven stress busters including amino acid cosubstrates like SAMe and theanine and herbal remedies like St. John’s wort and ashwagandha.
|↑1||Cammann, Victoria L.; et al. “Clinical Features and Outcomes of Patients With Malignancy and Takotsubo Syndrome: Observations From the International Takotsubo Registry.” Journal of the American Heart Association. 17 July 2019. Accessed 21 July 2019. http://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/JAHA.118.010881.|