Broken Heart Syndrome

I am currently working on a project for my anatomy and physiology class on broken heart syndrome. I find it very interesting and something that a lot of people are unaware of and I thought that it would be nice to share.

It is a temporary weakening of the muscle in the heart. It’s real name is Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy or also known as stress cardiomyopathy. It was discovered in the 1900’s by Japanese researchers and is often mistaken for a heart attack. “Tako tsubo” is the name of an octopus trap in Japan and it is named after this because it resembles the shape of the left ventricle, which is the base of the heart’s main pumping chamber, when broken heart syndrome occurs. This often occurs after severe emotional stress such as finding out a loved one has passed away. It could also happen after fighting, while public speaking, being extremely surprised, when your dealing with financial loss, etc. Aspirin appears to help the treatment and the majority of cases heal within 1-4 weeks. Like I said before, it is often misdiagnosed with a massive heart attack when a patient has really suffered from a days long surge in epinephrine and other stress hormones that temporarily “stun” the heart.

It is believed that some people may respond to sudden overwhelming emotional stress by releasing large amounts of catecholamines into the blood stream along with breakdown products and small proteins produced by an excited nervous system. These chemicals can be temporarily toxic to the heart, stunning the muscle and producing symptoms similar to a heart attack. However, examinations by angiograms shows no blockages in the arteries supplying the heart, blood tests fail to reveal the typical signs of a heart attack, and MRI scans show no irreversible muscle damage. What is clearly seen is the ballooning of the left ventricle of the heart.

It’s also believed that the heart muscle becomes overwhelmed by massive amounts of adrenaline. This may cause narrowing to the arteries that supply the heart with blood, decreasing the blood flow. Another cause could be the adrenaline binding to the heart cells directly causing calcium in large amounts to enter the cells making them temporarily dysfunctional.

While broken heart syndrome isn’t as common as a heart attack, it occurs more frequently than doctors realize. We are only beginning to understand why it happens and who is most likely to get it. Most people don’t have a previous history of heart disease and it primarily affects women averaging 60 years old but it can also occur in young women and men. The vast majority is seen in post-menopausal women. In rare cases death can occur. The majorities recovery is usually fast and leaves no permanent damage to the heart. However, further research is needed and more studies should be done.

There is no real way to prevent broken heart syndrome from happening. Some thoughts I have are to become actively involved in exercise such as yoga and meditation to relax your mind and control your stress hormones. Starting these types of practices earlier in life could help you save yourself later on if you get too excited, upset or scared to cause a problem such as this. Relax and let your mind be free and live your life day by day.



Bananas are one of the best sources of potassium, which is important for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function. A banana could help prevent high blood pressure and protect against atherosclerosis. Also, bananas have been found to have antacid effects that protect against stomach ulcers and ulcer damage. Diarrhea  can quickly deplete your body of important electrolytes. This fruit can also replenish your stores of potassium which is one of the most important electrolytes which helps maintain fluid balance. Bananas also contain pectin which is a soluble fiber to help normalize movement through the digestive tract and ease constipation. Bananas are also a rich source of fructooligosaccharide which is a prebiotic. These beneficial bacteria produce vitamins and digestive enzymes that improve the ability to absorb nutrients and compounds that protect us against unfriendly microorganisms. This can also help absorb calcium.

Bananas are a very good source of vitamin B6 and a good source of vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber, and manganese.

Three servings of fruit a day might sound like a lot, but by simply tossing a banana in a morning smoothie, slicing it in your cereal, having a peanut butter and banana sandwich, or even putting it in a cup of yogurt or green salad can help you reach your goal!


Amount per serving (1 Medium Banana)
Calories 105 Calories from Fat 4
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1mg 0%
Total Carbohydrates 27g 9%
Dietary Fiber 3g
Sugars 14g
Protein 1g
Vitamin A 2% Vitamin C 17%
Calcium 1% Iron 2%
Thiamin 2% Riboflavin 5%
Niacin 4% Pantothenic Acid 4%
Vitamin B6 22% Potassium 12%
Phosphorus 3% Magnesium 8%
Zinc 1% Copper 5%

Sweet Potatoes

A question received from

I was recently diagnosed with pre-diabetes and trying to follow a low fat diet. I have a question I hope you can answer. Are sweet potatoes considered a vegetable and are they ok to eat in my diet?

Not only are sweet potatoes tasteful, but they contain a large amount of health benefits. Sweet potatoes are considered a vegetable and are excellent to be eating when being diagnosed with pre-diabetes. There are a number of different nutrient categories that are responsible for health benefits of a sweet potato. Some categories are antioxidants, anti-inflammatory nutrients and blood sugar regulating nutrients. Several recent studies have shown the ability of sweet potatoes to raise our blood levels of Vitamin A. In some studies, sweet potatoes have been shown to be a better source of bioavailable beta-carotene than green leafy vegetables. In animal studies, reduced inflammation following the consumption of sweet potatoes has been shown in brain tissue and nerve tissue throughout the body.

Many people think that starchy root vegetables as a food group that can’t possibly control their blood sugar because food starches can be converted by the digestive tract into simple sugars. Sweet potatoes actually have the ability to improve blood sugar regulation even in people with type 2 diabetes. Among root vegetables, sweet potatoes offer the lowest glycemic index rating. That’s because the sweet potato digests slowly, causing a gradual rise in blood sugar so you feel satisfied longer. It’s time to move sweet potatoes to the “good” carb list. Many of the most popular diets these days have already. Research has shown that extracts from sweet potatoes can significantly increase blood levels of adiponectin which is a protein hormone produced by fat cells and is an important regulator for insulin metabolism. Sweet potatoes also contain a valuable amount of fiber (just over 3 grams in a medium sized). Be sure to add these naturally sweet vegetables in your meals year round because they are very nutritious. They can be found in your local market year round but are in season November-December.

A few quick serving ideas would be:

Cooked sweet potatoes with bananas and cinnamon topped with chopped walnuts. The fat content from the walnuts will help you get optimal absorption of beta-carotene.

Steam cubed sweet potatoes, tofu and broccoli mixed in raisins, served hot or cold with curried vinaigrette dressing.

A delicious baked potato by itself has enough flavor to make you satisfied!

So remember a sweet potato is a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Manganese, Copper, Fiber, Vitamin B6, Potassium, and Iron.

Sweet Potato Nutrition Facts (for one medium size sweet potato)
Calories 130
Fat 0.39 g
Protein 2.15 g
Net Carbs 31.56 g
Dietary Fiber 3.9 g
Calcium 28.6 mg
Sodium 16.9 mg
Potassium 265.2 mg
Folate 18.2 mcg
Vitamin C 29.51 mg
Vitamin A 26081.9 IU
Source: US Department of Agriculture

Metabolism Information

Here are some interesting facts for all of you on metabolism:
  • Your body burns 2 to 5% fewer calories with each decade after age 40 and women tend to put on a bout a pound a year!
  • Your body burns more calories digesting ice-cold beverages and foods. Five or six ice-cold glasses of water could help you burn 10 extra calories a day! This equals about 1 pound a year.
  • Drink water to help lose weight. All your body reactions require water. If you’re dehydrated you may burn up to 2% fewer calories.
  • Dieting drops resting metabolic rate. For every pound you lose, your resting metabolism drops about 2 to 10 calories. Lose 10 pounds, and you now have to eat 20 t0 100 calories to maintain.
  • Hot foods (spicy) increase metabolism. Capsaicin, which are found in chili peppers, increase metabolism and enhance satiety and hunger. One tablespoon of red or green chopped chili pepper temporarily increased metabolism by 23%.
  • Protein increases thermic effect of food. Eat between 10 to 20g of protein with each meal!
  • Catechin found in tea increase metabolism. Drinking 2-4 cups of tea a day- green or oolong daily could result in 50 extra calories burned a day equaling to 5 pounds a year! A squeeze of lemon can also help your body absorb more catechins.
  • Fast bouts of exercise increase metabolism. People who exercise at very high intensities experience a postexercise boost in resting metabolic rate that’s larger and lasts longer compared to those who work out at a low or moderate level.

Ever hear of Coenzyme Q 10?

The body normally produces enough CoQ10 although the levels in the body may decline with age and heart disease. The active form is known as ubiquinol. Ubiquinol has strong antioxidant properties. Conditions that cause oxidative stress on the body, like liver disease, decrease the ratio of ubiquinol to CoQ10. If you take CoQ10 orally, it may help treat congestive heart failure, a disease where the heart doesn’t adequately maintain circulation. CoQ10’s role in cell energy production may be the mechanism where it assists the heart. Coenzyme Q 10 may also help prevent migranes, reduce the likelihood of more heart problems in some people who’ve had a first heart attack and delay the progression of Parkinson’s disease. Also, to keep in mind certain medications may interfere with the body’s production of CoQ10 or partially block its function. The best evidence regards cholesterol-lowering drugs in the statin family, such as lovastatin (Mevacor), simvastatin (Zocor) and pravastatin (Pravachol). These medications impair CoQ10 synthesis as an inevitable side effect of their mechanism of action. Since these drugs are used to protect the heart, and since CoQ10 deficiency could in theory impair the heart function, it has been suggested that this side effect may work against the intended purposes of taking statins.


Here’s a question received from

Friday nights my family & I have dinner at our favorite pizza restaurant.  Now that I’ve been diagnosed with diabetes I don’t know what to order.  Could you help me with what (if anything) I can order?

First I would like to start off by showing some statistics about pizza:

  • Americans eat approximately 100 acres of pizza each day or about 350 slices per second.
  • Pizzerias represent 17 percent of all restaurants.
  • Pizza is a $30 billion per year industry
  • Pizza accounts for more than 10 percent of all food sales.
  • Sixty-seven percent of Americans order pizza for a casual evening with friends.
  • Each man, woman and child in America eats an average of 46 slices or 23 pounds of pizza a year.

Remember, when being diagnosed with diabetes, it is important to make changes to your old habits and lifestyle that you may have had prior to developing diabetes. If you want to live a long and healthful life, you must stick to a healthy, active lifestyle. Eating out can be very stressful for people with diabetes because of the pressure of ordering super size portions and unhealthier foods when arriving to these places. Pizza is a favorable food by many people and is definitely one of America’s top picked choices to eat. You can still incorporate pizza into your diet when you have diabetes, but it is a food that you would want to choose less often. There are some healthy elements and toppings that you can put on a pizza such as vegetables, but that doesn’t necessarily make it healthier for you. The pizza dough is full of simple carbohydrates that are full of sugars and that ultimately affect your blood sugar levels to rise. Tomato sauce is also important to keep your eye on because it is also filled with these “hidden” sugars. When choosing to eat pizza every once in awhile, it would be beneficial to order a salad along with it and skipping extra cheese as well as high fat toppings. Also, choosing thin crust options is important to cut out some of the carbohydrates. If you choose not to order pizza, some other options to keep in mind is to choose dishes in either a broth or tomato based sauce rather than a rich cream sauce. Also, asking for butter on the side for many of the dishes is important to keep in mind because it can lower the fat content of a meal a whole lot. Grilled fish or meat would be a good option and asking for vegetables on the side instead of pasta would also be a good idea. Avoiding pasta dishes, bread and high fat sauces is extremely important when eating out. Planning ahead before getting to the restaurant and letting your family members know how important is for you to stick to your diet is key to being successful when eating out. The key point to remember is eating foods in moderation and keeping your sugar levels under control can lead you to be a healthy and successful diabetic.

Here is a question that I have recently received from

I found out I have pre-diabetes.  I’m very confused and don’t know what I should do to treat it.  My friend told me to avoid all fruits.  Could you help me with how to treat my new diagnosis and if it’s ok to eat fruit?

A pre-diabetes diet combined with regular workouts is an effective way to treat it. Reduced amounts of carbohydrates, sugar, fat and calories can help reduce the chance of developing Type 2 diabetes. Including fruits and vegetables as well as including high fiber and non starchy vegetables in your meals is a good idea. Simple carbohydrates should be avoided as much as possible to reduce your chances of developing diabetes. These types of carbohydrates can lead to cravings as well as weight gain in most people. Complex carbohydrates however can improve digestion and maintain blood glucose levels. Complex carbohydrates help you feel full longer after meals as well as give you more energy throughout the day. For example, try choosing as much leafy green vegetables as possible, oat bran, oatmeal, multi-grain bread, low fat yogurt, skim milk, and brown rice. These are just some examples! Some fruits can be included in a pre-diabetes diet as well because they are high in complex carbohydrates. Some examples can include grapefruit, oranges, prunes, pears, strawberries, plums and apples. Just remember, fruits contain natural sugar so it won’t affect your body as much as eating a food high in simple carbohydrates with processed sugars. Even though you can consume many fruits, keeping a diet high in vegetables, whole grains, and low fat dairy is also important. Also, fish and lean cuts of beef and pork can be included but remember to remove the skin as much as possible. Staying away from high calorie snacks and desserts, also known as simple carbohydrates, are very important to understand in a pre-diabetic diet.

Diet and exercise come hand in hand when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle as well as reducing your risk for developing diabetes. Making exercise a part of your daily routine can make you an overall healthier human being while reducing your risks for many different chronic diseases, not only diabetes. It doesn’t matter what type of exercise you are doing, as long as you get your body moving it will be happy and you will feel better about yourself! So remember, diet and exercise both go together, one doesn’t work without the other.

My First Blog

Hello everyone,

I am a Nutrition Editor at which is a website designed to help people with diabetes. I am currently in my junior year at Montclair State University in New Jersey in the Dietetics program. I can’t wait to graduate and get started with my career! I am hoping to get into an internship after next year. If you have any questions feel free to ask!