About a century ago, the scientist Karl Pearson had a special finding when looking at tombstones in the cemeteries: husbands usually died one year after another.
Although it was not very commented at that time, studies show that stress and hopelessness can greatly affect health, especially the heart. One of the brightest examples is takotsubo cardiomyopathy, dubbed a broken heart syndrome, in which the death of a partner, financial worry or some other emotional event weakens the muscle with symptoms similar to those of a heart attack. Emotional weight causes the heart to look like a Japanese vessel called takotsubo: wide base and narrow neck.
This connection between our emotions and the health of the heart is the subject of Heart: History (Heart: Story) Sandeepa Jauhara. The cardiologist studies the history of cardiovascular medicine and the technological advances in it, from open heart surgery to the development of artificial hearts. Although these cardiac innovations were remarkable, Jauhar claims that cardiology studies need to focus more on emotional factors that can affect the development of heart disease, such as life in poverty, working stress or unhappy love and family relationships.
"I think technological progress will continue," he said. "But the great unexplored boundary is to devote more resources to reviewing the intersection of the emotional heart and the biological heart."
Jauhar's interest in this subject arose with a family history of heart disease, which resulted in the death of several relatives. As a child, he heard stories like his grandfather, who died unexpectedly at the age of 57 because of a cardiac arrest after he got into a black cobra in India. Since then, Jauhar's heart has become fascinating and frightening, especially when he has found he has arterial blockages despite the life of regular exercise and healthy eating. "I was afraid that the heart is a full-fledged priest," he said.
The heart is a relatively simple biological machine and a vital organ that many cultures think has a soul. It is a symbol of romance, sadness, sincerity, fear and even courage. The heart, whose name comes from Latin, is a pump circulating in the blood; a single body that can move on its own, with an average of three billion pulses during human life and the ability to empty the pool content during the week.
In the book, Jauhar tells the story of the first fearless physicians who were pioneers of cardiovascular operations at the end of the nineteenth century who began using a thread and a needle to repair wounds before rapid mowing to prevent bleeding of the patient. Other more complex procedures required the development of specialized machines; surgeons needed equipment that could do the heart's work to temporarily stop the heart to fix more complex problems such as congenital malformations and chronic problems.
Dr. C. Walton Lillehei developed a controlled cross circulation, a process in which the patient was connected to a second person whose heart and lungs pumped and oxygenated blood during delayed interventions (Lillehei practiced with dogs before use in the human body in 1954)
Some patients from Lillehei survived; others have developed infections and various complications. But his work has allowed the invention of a heart-lung machine or an extracorporal pump, which today employs more than a million worldwide operations each year. Since then, many other procedures have emerged, such as baipas and devices that are implanted.
This means that cardiovascular medicine has developed negligibly, although today, according to the Jauhar study, there is not enough studies on the role of emotional health. The doctor talks about the first major Framingham study that has taken place in the United States since 1948. This has made it possible to identify important risk factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure and smoking. Researchers initially considered a review of psychosocial determinants, but ultimately focused on issues that can be measured more easily.
"That's what the risky factors that we know and deal with come from," Jauhar said. "What they excluded from the style was the question of emotional dysfunction or health as a couple."
That was a mistake, says the doctor. Since then, other studies have shown that people who feel isolated or suffer from chronic stress due to work or their relationships are more likely to have heart attacks and strokes. Jauhar now calls on health authorities to consider emotional stress as a risk factor for heart disease. However, it is easier to focus on cholesterol.
In fact, some studies suggest that doctors give their patients an average of eleven seconds to explain why they are being consulted prior to discontinuation. Since writing the book, Jauhar has appreciated more than patients can talk about problems that make it harder to better understand their emotional life. He also tried to promote new stress-reducing habits such as yoga and meditation. He trains daily, spends more time with his children and is more involved in his patients than he has discovered his own heart disease.
"I was so focused on the competition that I really got into a very stressful position," he said. "Now I'm thinking about how to live a little healthier to make myself more relaxed, and I also have better relationships with my patients and their heart worries."
New York Times / ANAHAD O & # 39; CONNOR