Finally, after several months of dealing with health issues, I am feeling somewhat human. The constant pain can be very worn on both body and mind. During three weeks, the pain became so severe that I could not put any weight on my right knee. Reaching the bathroom a few feet from my bed was a major accomplishment.
With the addition of a new medication, my blood pressure is slowly improving and staying within tolerable limits. The breathing issues accompanied by a high heart rate remain a problem. My cardiologist assures me it is not a fatal condition and can be treated with medication. There has been some talk about a diagnosis of Octopus Heart. The description of this condition is as follows:
Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is an uncommon condition that has similar symptoms to a heart attack. Although the cause of takotsubo cardiomyopathy is not completely known, it may happen because of a sudden surge in adrenaline and other stress molecules in your body, possibly due to triggers like severe emotional stress or other health conditions. Experts suspect that this condition often happens in response to severe physical or emotional stress. People with takotsubo cardiomyopathy typically don’t have a major blockage to their heart’s arteries, but still have a temporary, often severe, change in the heart’s pumping ability.
Though it isn’t a heart attack, takotsubo cardiomyopathy can still be dangerous. In years past, experts believed takotsubo cardiomyopathy was a temporary condition without long-term risks. While most people who develop this condition will fully recover, they are still at a higher risk for long-term heart problems, as newer research shows this condition increases the long-term risk for death or serious health problems compared to people who’ve had heart attacks.
What are some other names for this condition?
Takotsubo cardiomyopathy gets its name from a type of Japanese ceramic jar. These jars have a narrow opening and neck, with a much wider body and base, making them useful for trapping octopus. When you have takotsubo cardiomyopathy, your heart changes shape, making it look like one of these jars.
The following names can also refer to takotsubo cardiomyopathy:
- Apical ballooning syndrome (or transient apical ballooning syndrome).
- Broken heart syndrome.
- Gebrochenes-Herz syndrome.
- Stress cardiomyopathy (or stress-induced cardiomyopathy).
Are there different types of takotsubo cardiomyopathy?
While this condition is also known as apical ballooning (meaning ballooning around the apex of your heart), there are four subtypes, and only one of them involves apical changes in your heart’s shape. The different types are:
- Apical. This is the most common type, making up more than 80% of cases. It affects the lower half of your heart and gives your heart the shape from which this condition gets its name.
- Mid-ventricular. This sub-type affects the middle section of your ventricles (the affected area looks like a belt or ring around your heart). The areas of your heart above and below the belt still function as they should.
- Basal. Similar to mid-ventricular, the affected area looks like a ring or belt. The difference is that the affected area is higher up. That means the area below the belt is the only area that functions normally. This type is very rare and makes up about 2% of cases.
- Focal. This is the rarest type, making up about 1% of cases, and it involves a much smaller area than the other types. The affected area forms a bulge-like shape that sticks out noticeably from the rest of your heart, with the opposite side of the heart curving inward toward the bulge.
Who does it affect?
Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is most common in women, with research studies showing that women make up almost 90% of cases. Age is also a factor, with this condition being much more likely to happen in women who are past menopause (especially after age 50).
How common is this condition?
Takotsubo cardiomyopathy isn’t common but also isn’t rare, making up 1% to 2% of suspected cases of acute coronary syndrome in general, and up to 10% of suspected acute coronary syndromes in women. Acute coronary syndromes are conditions that reduce blood flow to your heart, and takotsubo cardiomyopathy shares many of the same symptoms that happen with those conditions.
However, the above percentage may not reflect the reality of this condition. That’s because experts first named and defined this condition in 1990, meaning it’s relatively new and not well understood.
Here are some of my flowering plants that did quite well this summer. The clematis, the red Mandevilla and the miniature rose bush was planted for the first time this spring.
Rosie’s babies enjoying the afternoon playing on the deck..