Exclusively named after an octopus trap, Takotsubo cardiomyopathy occurs extensively in women. Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is temporary cardiomyopathy, which came into the limelight in 1990 in Japan. Many of the reported cases consist of females aged between 58 and 75. According to research, around 5% of the patients who underwent evaluation for heart attack possessed this disorder. Reported recently in the United States, Takotsubo cardiomyopathy goes largely unnoticed. Fortunately, many recover from the temporary illness at a rapid rate with no long-term damage to the heart.
What are the Symptoms of Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy?
A person, especially a female, who possesses the disorder, experiences the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath after excessive emotional or physical stress
- Difficulty in breathing
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Loss of consciousness
- Chest pain
What Causes Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy?
Although there is not sufficient data about the definitive or the exact cause of the condition, researchers point out at the sudden release of stress hormones that stuns the heart. A sudden stunning of the heart results in changes in the coronary blood vessels and heart muscle cells. Such effect reduces the strength of the left ventricle, which in turn prevents from pumping oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body.
Events that can trigger Takotsubo cardiomyopathy include:
- Domestic abuse
- Sudden death in the family or loved ones
- Natural disasters
- Fierce argument
- Gambling or financial losses
- Conflicts in relationship
- Head trauma
- Extreme fright
- Public speaking
- Exhausting physical strength
In a few cases, it is possible for individuals suffering from neurological and psychiatric conditions such as seizure, anxiety, and headache disorders are more likely to develop Takotsubo cardiomyopathy than others. It is still not understood why a specific event triggers the condition in a few situations while it does not work in other cases. Experts are also unable to find the reason for its occurrence in older women. The doctors pointed towards heart’s sensitivity towards stress hormone toxicity levels. Additionally, a decrease in estrogen could also be a critical factor in triggering the condition.
Based on the symptoms experienced by the individual, doctors perform physical examination and tests such as electrocardiogram, blood tests, and echocardiography. The doctor confirms the presence of Takotsubo cardiomyopathy using cardiac catheterization procedure.
Upon diagnosing the presence of Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, the person receives treatment in the hospital until the patient restores the health of the left ventricle. Monitoring of the patient takes place in the intensive care unit. The patient must stay in the hospital for at least a week before returning home.
Commonly used medications in treating Takotsubo cardiomyopathy include angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor drugs and beta-blockers. They are helpful in promoting the recovery of the heart muscle. It is also possible that the doctor gives anticoagulants that interfere with blood clotting for a brief period during the stay at the hospital to prevent a stroke. Complete recovery requires at least three months.
After releasing from the hospital, the doctor advises the continuation of the use of beta-blocker medicines to reduce the production of stress hormones. Along with the medication, the doctor also suggests specific instructions that help in managing the stress. Adhering to the same will be helpful in triggering the disorder.
Majority of the people diagnosed with the syndrome possess the ability to recover from it within two weeks. However, the doctor continues to monitor until the left ventricle restores to full health.
Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is a temporary disorder. Possessing knowledge about the symptoms will be helpful in seeking medical assistance at the right moment. Upon receiving confirmation, the doctor provides the necessary treatment, which helps in recovering from the situation within few weeks. Complete recovery requires at least three months and depends on the factors such as the age and overall health.