Senior Care Blog

Stress and Sadness Don’t Have to Lead to Illness

By Jonathan Marsh

Have you ever heard of someone dying of a broken heart? According to experts, it’s a very real thing. The stress caused by the loss of loved ones, or even beloved pets, can place enough strain on the body to cause real physical problems. In addition, according to WebMD, broken heart syndrome can also occur in people who are struggling with chronic illnesses, like cancer. In fact, researchers at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas say that at least 30 patients there who were receiving treatment for cancer met the criteria needed to diagnose them with broken heart syndrome.

What is Broken Heart Syndrome?

Broken heart syndrome occurs when a person is subjected to stress or situations that cause extreme emotions. You may hear the doctor call it stress cardiomyopathy. The condition is temporary and treatable. People experiencing broken heart syndrome may think they are having a heart attack because it can cause sudden pain in the chest. They may also feel short of breath. When people experience broken heart syndrome, only part of the heart is affected, making the heart pump abnormally. The rest of the heart continues to work as usual or might even pump harder to make up for the problem.

Certain people are at a higher risk for broken heart syndrome. Some of the risk factors are:

  • Gender: Women tend to suffer from broken heart syndrome more often than men do.
  • Age: Broken heart syndrome more commonly occurs in people over the age of 50.
  • Neurological Conditions: People who have a current or past neurological condition, like a head injury or seizures, are at higher risk.
  • Psychiatric Disorders: People have or have had certain mental health problems, like depression or anxiety, may have a higher chance of suffering from broken heart syndrome.

What Senior Care Can Do to Prevent Broken Heart Syndrome

By hiring senior care, you may be able to prevent your older family member from suffering from broken heart syndrome during a serious health problem or when they suffer a loss. Senior care providers can help to relieve some of the stress associated with these kinds of events. Some of the ways senior care providers can do that are:

  • Emotional Support: Senior care providers can offer emotional support in the form of their presence and by being someone who listens when the older adult needs to talk.
  • Healthy Meals: Looking after general health is important in preventing broken heart syndrome because it makes the body stronger and can give the older adult a better sense of control. Senior care providers can cook balanced meals that offer all the nutrients the older adult needs.
  • Distraction: Sometimes it helps to simply have something else to focus on. A senior care provider can offer activities to distract the older adult from their feelings and worries, such as going on an outing, making a craft, baking, playing a board game and more.


Sources
https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20191206/stress-sadness-really-can-break-your-heart
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/broken-heart-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20354617

If you or an aging loved one is considering senior care in Bradenton, FL, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers of Bradenton today at (941) 999-1960.