H is for the mostly un-heard of HEART ATTACK

TAKOT SUBO (broken heart syndrome)

Being a slim, fairly fit, 50 plus year old female who prides herself on eating a clean veggie packed diet I was shocked to learn that in the middle of my usual exercise routine that I’d a heart attack WHAT!
My arms went numb I had a massive pain behind both shoulders and across my upper back …No crushing chest pain to speak of which is probably why I initially thought that I’d just blown a disc or something similar as I’d been using heavier weights than usual.

After about an hour’s worth of attempting various remedies (still thinking that it was a disc issue) I finally called for an ambulance and was taken straight to the emergency department where after the tests and medication I was feeling a lot better and was all set to go home.

When I was told that I’d actually had a heart attack and would be heading upstairs for further testing eg an angiogram, an ECG, blood tests etc I couldn’t believe it and as if that wasn’t enough during the angiogram I went into tachycardia (increased racing heart rate) resulting in me having to lie completely flat, not being able to move one iota for almost 8 hours.

Presently the cardiac specialist came to see me and explained that the tests had revealed that I’d experienced a heart event called TAKOT SUBO (broken heart syndrome) which I’d never heard of apparently although it is just as serious, it is entirely caused by emotional and or physical stress rather than involving any blockages in the arteries.


Takot Subo primarily seems to happen to post menopausal women in the 50 plus age group. In laymen’s terms although the heart isn’t starved of oxygen as in a typical heart attack, Takot SUBO causes the heart to be stunned into a different shape ( Japanese octopus trap shape) this causes the left ventricle to lose its normal pumping function and capacity. Depending on the heart’s functioning percentage after the event, total recovery is possible in most cases.


In short stress, stress and more stress, both mental and or physical, this can be anything from grief, shock to emotional exhaustion. Leading up to it I’d been through quite a bit and I’d definitely been pushing myself fairly hard doing 3 jobs and exams amid the added pressure of working in difficult conditions online throughout COVID-19.


Looking back I’d had possible indications that something wasn’t quite right, Fatigue, Breathlessness and sinus issues, Aching arms (down both sides) Mid back pain, an Increase in the frequency and intensity of Migraine headaches. Each on their own didn’t seem like anything to worry about.


When the mind and body is stuck in survival mode or fight and flight mode the nervous system is basically running in an overloaded state, maintaining this wired state without rest for any prolonged period of time is just not sustainable.
The old adage “If we refuse to listen to what your mind and body is trying to tell us, our mind and body will let us know in no uncertain terms when enough is enough! Is so true.

In today’s society we often find ourselves:

1.Pushing ourselves beyond our limits, exhausted but soldiering on.

2. Convincing ourselves that we are infallible.

3. Trying to sustain unsustainable levels of energy whilst rising to the demands that we and others put upon ourselves.

4. Not knowing how to say NO!


The bottom line is knowing when to take a step back, Its so easy for a day, a week, a year to frantically rush by, it’s incredibly important to check in with yourself to ask yourself how you are travelling along the way. MAKE the time to RECHARGE, REFRESH and REST.
SURROUND yourself with good friends and laughter, MEDITATE, take up yoga, gardening, some form of stress relieving exercise or  discipline, WALK on the beach often.
Learn to look after yourself ……..Your heart will thank you for it!









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