Suffering from a broken heart is one of the most agonizing experiences life. Against common belief that broken heart is a temporary emotional phase the person can eventually snub, there are volumes of research proving deep established ties between mental health and physical well-being, and imbalance in any of the two resulting in long terms effects on either or both. A bad patch in a person’s emotional life can bear serious consequences on the body and can even lead to cardiac consequences.
Broken Heart Syndrome
One of the most common types of cardiac sicknesses from broken heart is stress-induced cardiomyopathy or takotsubo cardiomyopathy, a syndrome that directly affects the performance of heart function causing forceful contractions in the heart muscle that can even lead to cardiac arrest. The common cause is psychological trauma such as death of a loved one, breakup or physical separation, romantic rejection, betrayal and similar stressful events. In chronic cases, the patient may be required to visit a cardiologist.
The most common signs of broken heart include depression, anxiety, poor diet, weak immune system, insomnia, physical pain, lethargy, and unhealthy lifestyle. Following are the most prevailing symptoms found in women when suffering from broken heart.
1. Anxiety, Desperation, and Restlessness
Anxiety, desperation, and restlessness are the most defining symptoms of broken heart. With the release of stress hormones, the body becomes heightened with fight and flight response which induces faster metabolism and heart rate. This results in shakiness, breathlessness, and anxious behavior. More often the person also suffers from headaches, muscle tension, nausea, excessive sweating, impaired judgement, and nausea.
2. Increase and Loss in Appetite
There is a proven link between emotional stress and changes in appetite. Patients suffering from broken heart undergo imbalance of hormones, dramatic changes in rhythm and blood substances which directly affects their appetite. Depression can lead to lethargy and cause loss interest in eating and cooking which diminishes the person’s energy to prepare meals. For others it may also be nausea. Similarly, increase in appetite is also a symptom in which feelings of sadness can lead to overeating. In this case, the patient eats in response to his/her emotions since food helps change the chemical balance in the brain and achieve feeling of fullness while improving mood through association with happier times.
3. Weak Immune System
In emotional pain, the body is often subject to acute stress which can cause flu, general malaise and gastrointestinal issues. According to researchers at UCLA, the body increases the production of cortisol, a stress hormone to facilitate fight and flight response. However, elevated levels of cortisol can wear down the immune system and leave it vulnerable to many types of bacteria and viruses.
4. Physical Pain
Generally, there is a degree of actual physical pain when suffering from broken heart in the chest and abdominal area of the body. This may also be accompanied by back pain, neck pain, aches, stiffness of joints and muscular pain. Research has consistently revealed similar pain patterns from the brain when responding to emotional stress than in physical stress in certain regions of the body.
5. Sleep Deprivation
Sleep deprivation is another direct symptom of broken heart. When the body undergoes hormonal surges as a result of emotional stress, it disturbs its natural sleep cycle or circadian rhythm which causes insomnia. This is also characterized with waking up too early, being tired when waking, and suddenly waking up during sleep.