In 2016, beloved actress Carrie Fisher passed away, leaving hordes of Star Wars fans adrift. The tragedy was that a day after we lost the incredible Fisher, her mother Debbie Reynolds died of a stroke. Some say that desperately bereft without her daughter, Reynolds died of a broken heart. Whilst in times of great emotion we often feel that our heart has shattered into a million pieces, is it really true? Can you really die of a broken heart? Written by one of the eleven female heart surgeons in the whole of Australia, Dr Nikki Stamp’s Can You Die of a Broken Heart? is not a whimsical, philosophical assessment of the heart, nor is it a book that will provide you with a list of things you must do to be healthy or a plan to follow, set out day by day. Instead, Nikki aims to instill her love and passion for the heart into every reader: “I want to show you how incredible our hearts truly are. We will explore how they work, how they get sick and what we know about looking after them. I want you to walk away just as enthralled by this pump that sits in the centre of our chests that keeps us alive. I want you to be so armed with information for your new found enthrallment with your heart that you will want to care for it every day.” Broken down into fourteen chapters, Can You Die of a Broken Heart? explains how stress, food, fat, exercise, depression, sleep, love, gender, nutrition and genetics can all play a part when it comes to heart health so you can do your best to understand the importance of keeping your body and mind as healthy as possible. Did you know that running is the best form of exercise to keep your heart healthy? That love can help you to recover from heart disease much more effectively than those without, and that grief can literally make your heart stop? Did you know that those suffering from depression are 1.6 times more likely to suffer heart problems than those who have never had depression? And that men and women have different symptoms when they have a heart attack (it’s not just the Hollywood clutching of the chest!)? Packed full of interesting anecdotes of the heart health of Nikki’s patients, Nikki explains what heart failure is, how it affects our bodies both emotionally and physically, and why it is imperative that we have a greater understanding of the importance of the heart and why we should keep as healthy as possible. Nikki highlights that in the past, heart attacks have only been explored in relation to men. Did you know women are more likely to die from heart disease than they are cancer? And whilst men who suffer from heart attacks are most likely to call an ambulance, women call their mothers, believing their symptoms of nausea, headaches and back ache are just signs of being run down. Can You Die of a Broken Heart? is a fascinating insight into the workings of the heart and how emotions and lifestyle affect every beat, from a rare female voice in what is undeniably a male-dominated profession.
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About the Author
Dr Nikki Stamp, FRACS, is a cardiothoracic surgeon, one of only 11 female heart surgeons in Australia. Her clinical work is at the forefront of cardiothoracic surgery, including transplants and congenital heart disease. She has a particular interest in women's heart disease and how the medical system can better serve female patients. Nikki is the author of Can You Die of a Broken Heart?, which has been translated into 7 languages, and Pretty Unhealthy. She has hosted heart health episodes for Australia's flagship science TV program Catalyst as well as hosting Operation Live, in which she commentated a live caesarean birth and live open-heart surgery.