By Mightor Hernandez
Mightor Hernandez serves as Director at PVP. He is a creative and commercial consultant, with expertise on interior design and extensive corporate experience in Manila and Singapore
Since Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, what better way to welcome it than by talking about our heart, or broken heart, for that matter. Broken heart syndrome [BHS], as described by Mayo Clinic, is a “temporary heart condition that is often brought on by stressful situations and extreme emotions.” Life-threatening BHS mimics a heart attack, which may present as “tightness or pain in your chest, heart palpitations or a flutter in your chest, and fainting or near-fainting spells,” as shared by Dr. Khaled Abdul-Nour, a cardiologist from the Henry Ford Health System. Mayo Clinic furthered that “heart attacks are generally caused by a complete or near-complete blockage of a heart artery. In broken heart syndrome, the heart arteries are not blocked, although blood flow in the arteries of the heart may be reduced.”
BHS can be caused by either emotional or physical stressors, according to Dr. Ilan Wittstein, the program director of the Johns Hopkins Heart Failure Fellowship. Grief, fear, extreme anger,
and surprise make up the emotional stressors; while high fever, stroke, seizure, difficulty breathing [such as asthma], significant bleeding, and low blood sugar comprise the physical stressors.
For the past two years, the whole world has struggled with COVID-19. Close to six million people globally have died due to the virus, with almost 400 million cases registered so far. Dealing with COVID-19 has brought our stress levels to stratospheric proportions. Lockdowns have grounded us and clipped our mobility. The paranoia of getting infected has nagged our headspace. Surviving the horrendous bout with the virus has tormented patients’ bodies. Losing our source of livelihood and shelter has threatened our existence. Grieving for the death of loved ones lost has broken us. During this extraordinary time, our hearts have been battered heavily.
Based on a Cleveland Clinic study in the Journal of American Medical Association, the incidence of BHS has almost quadrupled from 2% to 7.8% during the COVID-19 outbreak. With the lingering pandemic, it is important to focus on self-care. Connecticut-based licensed psychologist Dr. Marni Amsellem suggested that “self-care is anything that you do for yourself that feels nourishing…that can be something that’s relaxing or calming, or it can be something that is intellectual or spiritual or physical or practical or something you need to get done.”
Self-care involves checking in with yourself, finding out how you are going and doing what your body is telling you. It is important to note that it is also a case of different strokes for different folks; people have varying self-care methodologies. With regular self-care practice, you will reduce stress, improve the immune system, increase productivity, boost self-confidence, and live a fuller, much better life. It can save you from having a broken heart syndrome. It can also make you recover faster, if ever your heart gets broken.
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! Love your heart!