Joe Garcia, whose wife was killed in the Texas school shooting, is another victim of the tragedy.
It’s so heartbreaking to listen to the reports about the slaughter of the innocents at the school in Uvalde, Texas.
The magnitude of grief now being experienced by the families of the dead is unimaginable. In fact, the sudden passing of Joe Garcia, the husband of fourth-grade teacher Irma Garcia killed in the massacre, is being attributed to “broken heart syndrome.”
Irma Garcia’s nephew, John Martinez, said Joe collapsed at home on Thursday shortly after delivering flowers for Irma’s memorial. Doctors said a sudden death following a tragedy could be evidence of broken heart syndrome, a rare condition that mimics a heart attack.
“In general, when broken heart syndrome occurs, it’s after an extreme stressor,” said Dr. Deepak Bhatt, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
“It’s highly likely that the stress of his spouse’s death is what triggered this,” he said.
EXTREMELY heartbreaking and come with deep sorrow to say that my Tia Irma’s husband Joe Garcia has passed away due to grief, i truly am at a loss for words for how we are all feeling, PLEASE PRAY FOR OUR FAMILY, God have mercy on us, this isn’t easy pic.twitter.com/GlUSOutRVV
— john martinez ❤️🔥 (@fuhknjo) May 26, 2022
The technical term for it is Takotsubo cardiomyopathy. The condition presents like a heart attack. However, upon examination, doctors can find no blockages in the arteries of the heart.
Physicians report seeing more cases in the wake of the covid pandemic.
“When someone experiences a severe stress on their body – emotional or physical – it’s been theorized the high level of adrenaline in blood can cause dysfunction in blood vessels and heart muscle,” says Kelly.
Dr. Hermant Solomon, an invasive cardiologist at WakeMed, says it often presents in post-menopausal women – but the pandemic broke those barriers.
“I have seen a couple cases as a result of COVID, where they got Broken Heart Syndrome a year or 2 years later,” he says. “It’s on the uprise.”
The Journal of American Medicine found cases of stress-induced Broken Heart Syndrome increased to nearly 8% since the onset of the pandemic.
“Even though you are healthy you are still at risk of this,” says Solomon. “Don’t sit tight. This is real. You can die from Broken Heart Syndrome.”
The physiological cause of broken heart syndrome is not fully understood. Scientists currently think that that a surge of stress hormones impact cardiac tissue. Additionally, a temporary tightening of the large or small arteries of the heart may play a role, and there may also be an associated change in the structure of the heart muscle.
In most instances, the syndrome is not fatal. Broken heart syndrome usually reverses itself in days or weeks.
When you experience a stressful event, your body produces hormones and proteins such as adrenaline and noradrenaline that are meant to help cope with the stress.
The heart muscle can be overwhelmed by a massive amount of adrenaline that is suddenly produced in response to stress. Excess adrenaline can cause narrowing of the small arteries that supply the heart with blood, causing a temporary decrease in blood flow to the heart.
Alternatively, the adrenaline may bind to the heart cells directly, causing large amounts of calcium to enter the cells. This large intake of calcium can prevent the heart cells from beating properly. It appears that adrenaline’s effects on the heart during broken heart syndrome are temporary and completely reversible — the heart typically recovers fully within days or weeks.
Clearly, some losses are difficult to overcome. Joe and Irma had been married for 24 years.
According to Irma Garcia’s school profile, she had been a teacher for 23 years, all of which were spent at Robb Elementary.
“I love to BBQ with my husband, listen to music, and take country cruises to Concan,” she wrote in the profile.
They have four children, the youngest of whom is in the seventh grade, the profile says.
Prayers continue for the families of the dead and for the healing of the wounded.DONATE
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