Hundred years ago, researcher Karl Pearson had a strange finding when he observed tombstones in cemeteries: marriage usually kills one year after another.
Although not much commented at that time, studies show that stress and hopelessness can affect health, especially the heart, significantly. One of the clearest examples is takotubocardiomyopathy, nickname with brutal heart syndrome, where death in a partner, financial concern or any other emotional event weakens the muscle with symptoms similar to heart attacks. The emotional weight causes the heart to be in a shape similar to a Japanese vessel called takotsubo: a broad base and a narrow neck.
The link between our feelings and our heart health is the subject of the book Heart: A History (The Heart: A Story) by Dr Sandeep Jauhar. The cardiologist studies the history of cardiovascular medicine and the technical advances in it, from open heart surgery to the development of artificial hearts. Although these cardiac innovations have been remarkable, Jauhar claims that cardiology studies need to focus more on the emotional factors that may affect the development of heart disease, such as living in poverty, work stress or unhappy love and family relationships.
"I think technological progress will continue," he said. "But the great unexplored border is to devote more resources to review the crossing between the emotional heart and the biological heart."
Jauh's interest in the subject arose with his own family history of heart disease, which led to the death of several relatives. As a child, he heard stories like his grandfather, who unexpectedly died at the age of 57 because of a cardiac arrest after driving into a black cobra in India. Since then, Jauhar's heart has become both fascinating and intimidating, especially when he has been shown to have arterial blockages despite his life of regular exercise and healthy eating. "I imagined fear how the heart was human beings in fullness," he said.
The heart is both a relatively simple biological machine and a body of life that many cultures enjoy the soul. It is a symbol of romance, sadness, sincerity, fear and even courage. The heart, whose name comes from the Latin core, is a pump that circulates the blood; the only body that can drive, with an average of three billion pulses during a person's life and with the ability to empty the contents of a pool within a week.
In the book, Jauhar tells the story of the first unsafe doctors who were pioneers of cardiovascular disease at the end of the nineteenth century, which began to use wire and needle to repair wounds before they were quickly sutured to prevent the patient from bleeding. Other more complicated procedures required the development of special machines; The surgeon needed a device that could make the heart work so that they could temporarily stop the heart to repair more complicated problems, such as congenital defects and chronic problems.
Dr. C. Walton Lillehei developed controlled cross-circulation, a procedure where the patient was connected to a second person whose heart and lungs pumped and oxygenated the blood during delayed intervention (Lillehei practiced with dogs before using it in humans, 1954).
Some of Lillehei's patients survived; Other developed infections and various complications. But his work admitted the invention of the cardiovascular, or extracorporeal pump device, which today is used in more than one million global operations each year. Since then, many more procedures have occurred, such as baipas and devices being implanted.
That is, cardiovascular medicine has developed decisively, but today there is not enough study on the role of emotional health, according to Jauhar. The doctor talks about the first major study, Framingham, conducted in the United States since 1948. This enabled identification of important risk factors such as cholesterol levels, blood pressure and smoking. The researchers initially considered revising psychosocial determinants, but eventually they focused on issues that are easier to measure.
"That's where the risk factors we know and manage came from," Jauhar said. "What they eliminated from the style was the problems with emotional dysfunction or health as a couple."
It was a mistake, says the doctor. Since then, other studies have shown that people who feel isolated or suffering from chronic stress due to work or their relationships are more prone to heart attacks and strokes. Jauhar now calls on healthcare authorities to take into account emotional stress as a risk factor in heart disease. However, it is easier to focus on cholesterol.
In fact, some studies show that doctors give their patients an average of eleven seconds to explain why they are in consultation before they are interrupted. Since the book, Jauhar has been valued more than patients can talk about the problems that affect them to better understand their emotional lives. He has also tried to promote new habits to reduce stress, such as yoga and meditation. He practices daily, spends more time with his children and is more involved in his patients since he discovered his own heart disease.
"I was so focused on the performance contest that I actually put myself in a very stressful position," he said. "Now I'm thinking about living a little more healthy, being more relaxed. I also have better relationships with my patients and with their fear of their heart."
New York Times / ANAHAD O & # 39; CONNOR