Broken Heart Syndrome, also known as Takotsubo, is an elusive heart condition that remains a mystery to science. It happens when a person experiences sudden, heart attack-like symptoms but is caused by something different. Unlike a regular heart attack caused by a blocked artery, imaging on patients suffering from broken heart syndrome showed swollen left ventricles. 

A recent study, titled "Sex‐ and Age‐Based Temporal Trends in Takotsubo Syndrome Incidence in the United States," published in the  Journal of the American Heart Association, suggests that the syndrome is on the rise among middle-aged and older women. Researchers also examined the trends of Takotsubo and found that it has steadily been rising even before the COVID-19 pandemic.

 Broken Heart Syndrome Is on the Rise Since Before the Pandemic Especially Among Middle-Aged, Older Women
(Photo : Pixabay)
Broken Heart Syndrome Is on the Rise Since Before the Pandemic Especially Among Middle-Aged, Older Women

Broken Heart Syndrome Linked to Age and Sex

According to Jerusalem Post, broken heart syndrome was first described in Japan after the Takotsubo pot used to hold octopuses that look like a swollen heart. Researchers examined the trends of this heart disease and found a surprising link between the phenomenon to age and sex.

The number of cases increases every year, but women aged 50-75 are the more common diagnoses. In regular heart attacks, men are more susceptible than women, and their risk usually comes with age.

The study reveals that 88% of cases of Takotsubo are women. In particular, there is an increase of 128 cases per million every year among middle-aged women, 96 cases per million among older women, and 15 cases per million among younger women. Takotsubo cases in men also increased but far less substantially.

Moreover, the research suggests that their condition has become more common and rising steadily even before the COVID-19 pandemic. NBC News reported that the number of cases increased during the pandemic because of the challenges and stressors it caused for everyone, especially among women.

Researchers noted that one of the possible reasons for the overall ruse in cases is because broken heart syndrome has become better known these days and the fact that imaging methods to identify have become more sophisticated, advanced, and accessible.

ALSO READ: More Cases of 'Broken Heart Syndrome' Recorded During Coronavirus Pandemic

What Causes Broken Heart Syndrome?

Science Daily reported that the rare condition shows how the brain and nervous system respond to different stressors. Senior study author Dr. Susan Cheng said there is likely a tipping point just beyond midlife where the excess response to stressors can adversely affect the heart.

They have observed that women in this situation are affected and increases the risk for developing Takotsubo. The team is investigating the long-term implications and molecular markers of the risk of developing heart disease and the factors that might contribute to the rising cases.

The Smidt Heart Institute developed a new diagnostic tool and advanced specialized care for women to identify female-pattern heart disease and conditions. The study helps in clarifying that women of a specific age range are at higher risk for stress-induced heart disease, and the risk further increases as they age due to changes in susceptibility, environment, or both.

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