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Forum Name: Miscellaneous Cardiology Topics

Question: A "heavy" hurting heart when angry or sad


 sunnycarne - Sun Jan 04, 2009 12:04 am

Whenever I get sad or upset, my heart begins to feel really heavy and it hurts. The pain feels strongest at the bottom of the heart. Often times, the area near my heart hurts and feels as if it is empty and almost as if it is not there. This issue is probably not life threatening, but I was curious as to what I can do to alleviate the pain when I am experiencing those certain emotions, and what exactly causes the symptoms. Is there a medical term for my condition? Also, I read that anger and sadness can cause serious cardiac problems. Can my condition later turn into serious heart issues? I am 15. Thank you!

*Please do not view me as an over dramatic teenager who is being trivial. I am very serious about this and would truly like to know any ideas or advice as to how to deal with my condition.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Fri Jan 09, 2009 11:32 pm

User avatar Hi there -

This is a serious question and I'll treat it that way. First, it is a very reasonable concern and well put. Second, it's serious because profound sadness and/or anger can cause this sensation with or without heart disease. While it would be extremely unusual in someone your age, the answer to your question about the potential for negative emotions to cause or aggravate heart disease is that yes, over a long period of time it is believed to play a role in the development of or aggravation of heart disease. Usually this is seen in people in their 40s, 50s and 60s. It is almost never a factor in people younger than 30, but again, over a long, long period of time it is associated with an increase in risk of heart disease, so the question is certainly well taken. However, these emotions can also cause a "heart ache" in otherwise healthy young people (and older ones, too), which is where the term "heartache" came from. What actually causes these sensations is difficult to pin down, but they are certainly real, even when they pose no threat to health, and they are also very telling as far as feelings go.

The best way for you to deal with this set of symptoms would be to bring them to the attention of your doctor. Now it's entirely possible (sad, but true) that your doctor could decide you're being and "over dramatic teenager" and that would be very unfortunate, because a really good and sensitive doctor wouldn't do that. Still, it does happen sometimes. A truly sharp and insightful doctor would do a cardiac workup, if only to ease your mind about the symptoms being related to your heart, and, if that were ruled out (as I feel certain it would be) might be able to help you find someone with whom you could talk about the emotions you describe which are bringing on these symptoms. This is not an "over dramatic" response, but a responsible one, since we are usually the last to know when our emotions are affecting our health or even our perceptions via our bodies. It's a complicated process and that's why there are people whose life work is helping us figure these things out.

I hope this is helpful to you. Please follow up with us as needed and keep us updated as well. Good luck to you.

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