“House Rules: A Monthly Healthy Living Column Brought to You by ConnectedHealth”


This Month: American Heart Month – We’ll explore how stress and exercise are crucial to heart health.


“The Heart will never be practical until it can be made unbreakable.”
The Tin Man, The Wizard of Oz.

A Broken Heart

Did you know that broken hearts are real? (also called stress-induced cardiomyopathy or Takotsubo cardiomyopathy). (Takotsubo, are Octopus traps that resemble the pot-like shape of the stricken heart) In broken heart syndrome, a part of your heart temporarily enlarges and doesn’t pump well, while the rest of your heart functions normally or with even more forceful contractions.

“This syndrome can be confused with a heart attack “says Andrew DeMarco, MD, Medical Director of Connected Health. “Here’s what you need to know.”

  • Women are more likely than men to experience the sudden, intense chest pain
  • It can be caused by an emotionally stressful event – the death of a loved one a divorce, family
  • It leads to moderately severe, short-term heart muscle failure.
  • It’s usually treatable. Most make a full recovery within week or months and risk of death is low.
  • The most common signs and symptoms of broken heart syndrome chest pain and shortness of breath.
  • If your doctor thinks you have broken heart syndrome, you may need coronary angiography, a test that uses dye and special X-rays to show your coronary arteries to exclude coronary disease as a cause. . Other diagnostic tests are blood tests, EKG, echocardiography(a painless test that uses sound waves to create moving pictures of your heart) and cardiac MRI.

Your Heart at the Gym 

Planning on working out more this New Year? Congratulations! The benefits to you will be many. But If you’ve been sedentary for a while, you may want to see your doctor before you start. “We love seeing all the positive energy and enthusiasm for exercise in the new year” says Mike Fox, co-founder, President and leader of the fitness programs at Connected Health, “But we want people to be smart and be ready, especially if they’ve been inactive for a while.” Connected Health’s Dr. Andy recommends you see your doctor if two or more of the following apply:

  • You’re older than 35 years.
  • A family history of heart disease before age 60.
  • You smoke or you quit smoking in the past six months.
  • You don’t normally exercise for at least 30 minutes, most days of the week.
  • You’re significantly overweight.
  • You have high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
  • You have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, or you have impaired glucose tolerance (also called prediabetes).

Connected Health and Dr. Andy can schedule a pre-exercise physical with OR without a Concierge Membership. Call 724.933.4300 to schedule yours!

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