It is your birthday or your graduation and nostalgia takes the front seat as a playback of your life so far occurs in your mind, some of the events make you sad and even bring tears to your eyes while some others make you smile with such uncontrollable glee. You finally come out of your reverie and look around and suddenly even those really good parts can not compare to right now as you look round and realize afresh how far you have come. Such intense joy bursts forth from your heart as you consider the fact that this is indeed it!
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We’ll stop there now because we know we’re all fans of joy. Unfortunately for us however, a report from the University of Zurich has found that those moments of intense happiness and joy can cause breathlessness and chest pain. The reason is that those episodes can induce takotsubo cardiomyopathy which is a heart condition that causes the left ventricle to temporarily weaken.
Normally, it has been known to be caused by negative feelings like anger, stress, grief or fear, actually 75 percent of the reported cases of takotsubo cardiomyopathy have been caused by strong negative feelings. The study has however revealed that one in twenty cases are rather caused by joy and some of the incidents cited were birthday parties, reunion between long estranged friends, weddings, winning a jackpot and even a report of a clean bill of health.
The findings from the study which were published in the European Heart Journal saw Dr Jelaria Ghadri who worked on the report stating; “We’ve shown that the triggers for takotsubo syndrome can be more varied than previously thought…A takotsubo syndrome patient is no longer the classic ‘broken-hearted’ patient, and the disease can be preceded by positive emotions too.”
He also added; “Clinicians should be aware of this and also consider that patients who arrive in the emergency department with signs of heart attacks, such as chest pain and breathlessness, but after a happy event or emotion, could be suffering from takotsubo syndrome just as much as a similar patient presenting after a negative emotional event”.
There is however good news as the syndrome is only temporary and following treatment, the heart returns to normal after a few weeks, but isn’t it really still a weird thought that your joy could cause you any kind of harm at all?