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Don’t leave it until Valentine’s Day to start loving your heart

13 February 2018

Valentine's Day is a time when people who have been unlucky in love are said to suffer from a broken heart. 

But it turns out that a broken heart is an actual medical condition! 

Solihull consultant cardiologist Dr Jerome Ment explained that broken heart syndrome can occur during highly stressful or emotional times, such as a painful break-up, the death of a spouse, the loss of a job or extreme anger.

Known medically as Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, symptoms are similar to those of a heart attack, including chest pain and difficulty breathing and can occur in people with completely healthy hearts.

“During an extremely stressful event the heart can be overwhelmed with a surge of adrenalin and other stress hormones,” said Dr Ment, a consultant at Spire Parkway Hospital in Solihull.

The good news is, like most love songs will tell you, most broken hearts will mend and symptoms should, over time, disappear. 

Dr Ment said: “If patients are under the care of physicians familiar with this syndrome, even the most critically ill tend to make a quick and complete recovery within six to eight weeks”.

But he warned: “It is difficult to distinguish between broken heart syndrome and a heart attack, so anyone experiencing chest pains or difficulty in breathing should assume the worst and call 999 immediately”.

Now he is encouraging people to learn more about their hearts and is supporting the National Heart Month that runs throughout February.

“Despite major national campaigns and massive media coverage of heart disease and how to keep it healthy, it is amazing how little people know about their most vital organ.

“Keeping your heart healthy is vital but so is taking action if you think something is wrong. The faster you seek expert advice the more likely it is that problems can be corrected. Ignoring the signs of heart problems is really not an option!”

Q: How quickly could I have a consultation, and how much would it cost? 

A: It depends on the availability of the consultant you wanted to see, but we pride ourselves on getting you fast access to diagnosis and you can often get a consultation within 24/48 hours. Initial consultation fees vary by consultant, but between £175-£250 is a reasonable guide. 

Q: If I need surgery, how quickly could I have it? 

A: We have no waiting lists at Spire Parkway, but again it depends on the availability of the consultant you wanted, but as a guide, and subject to your pre-operation assessment, between one and two weeks.

Q: I don’t have health insurance, can I pay for myself? 

A: Yes, you can. Our self-pay team can talk you through this and explain the finance options that are available, should you wish to explore them. Call 0121 704 5530, or enquire here.

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