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DIANA GREGORY IS MAKING GOOD THINGS HAPPEN FOR VETERANS
Category: GENERAL

DIANA GREGORY IS MAKING GOOD THINGS HAPPEN FOR VETERANS

Veggies for Veterans from Diana Gregory on Vimeo.

How to Mend a Broken Heart
Category: GENERAL
Tags: broken heart healing strategies personal tragedy extreme grief grief-stricken heart muscle

Dear Reader,

In their 1970s hit, The Bee Gees asked, "How can you mend a broken heart?"

But if they wanted to be medically correct about it, they would've sung, "How do you recover from Takotsubo cardiomyopathy?"

That's what doctors call it when your heart is broken, but most folks find it easier to say "broken heart syndrome," which has a better ring to it.

And, as some new research has revealed, the damage that "heartbreak" can do to your heart is not only very real... but it can be permanent, affecting you in many of the same ways a heart attack can.

In essence, what we now know is that a "broken heart," rather than just being a figure of speech or a turn of phrase used by songwriters, is a fairly accurate description of what can happen to someone who's suffered a profound personal loss -- especially if they're older.

But if you or someone you love is suffering from it, there are healing strategies that can be used to overcome it -- that is, if it's treated as a physical condition rather than just an emotional one.


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Don't try to go it alone
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Perhaps the best recent example of the effect that broken heart syndrome can have is the death of film star Debbie Reynolds, who died from a stroke just days after her daughter Carrie Fisher collapsed and died.

There can be little doubt that at 84 years old, the stress caused by that personal tragedy was a fatal blow.

But while the passing of the celebrity mother-daughter duo was the stuff of headlines, there are countless similar cases that occur all the time, but they get little notice beyond immediate family members and friends.

That's why it's so important to realize that experiencing extreme grief -- whether it's from the loss of a spouse, a close friend or a pet companion -- takes a physical as well an emotional toll.

Using MRIs and ultrasounds, research funded by the British Heart Association on 52 volunteers found that grief-related stress resulted in a reduced pumping rhythm of the heart -- similar to how your body reacts during a heart attack, causing scarring and loss of heart elasticity.

So, it's quite logical that the strategies used to help those who are grief-stricken should not be all that different from those used to help heart-attack victims recover:

  • Keep close watch over your friend or relative in the days and weeks after their loss. Offer them companionship and check in on them regularly. And if that person is you, reach out to others, rather than trying to wing it alone.
     
  • Get out and take daily walks, even if it's just around the block. Being a "walking buddy" can be especially important at these times when a little bit of encouragement might make all the difference in the world. Regular, moderate exercise -- especially walking -- is a therapy increasingly recommended by experts to keep your ticker working efficiently, regulate your blood pressure and stave off a variety of threats to your health.
     
  • Eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, along with supplements such as resveratrol and CoQ10, which are both known to play a big role in promoting longevity and strengthening the heart muscle.

Let this serve as a good reminder that grief is more than just a temporary state of mind -- it's an extreme form of physical stress that can be life-threatening if left unattended.

And remember: There are ways to mend a broken heart, if only you know how.

To a Heartfelt Recovery,

 Melissa Young

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