In a recent posting, the American Heart Association (AHA) addressed the phenomenon of Broken Heart Syndrome. It seems many who’ve never gone through a traumatic episode such as filing divorce papers, feel this is a figure of speech, but as it turns out BHS is very much real and it can be fatal, though unlikely.
“There are established ties between depression, mental health and heart disease,” the post states, adding that Broken Heart Syndrome is also known as “stress-induced cardiomyopathy or takotsubo cardiomyopathy,” and it can strike “even if you’re healthy.”
Who Is Most Likely To Get Broken Heart Syndrome?
When it comes to BHS, the AHA warns women to be particularly careful as they are at a higher risk of experiencing the phenomenon than men. It generally manifests itself as a “sudden, intense chest pain — the reaction to a surge of hormones — that can be caused by an emotionally stressful event.”
The organization notes that the event can be the death of a loved one, a physical separation, betrayal, romantic rejection, or even the process of filing divorce forms. “It could even happen after a good shock (like winning the lottery).” the poster adds.
It’s possible for Broken Heart Syndrome to be misdiagnosed, usually as a heart attack “because the symptoms and test results are similar.”
“In fact,” the AHA adds, “tests show dramatic changes in rhythm and blood substances that are typical of a heart attack. But unlike a heart attack, there’s no evidence of blocked heart arteries in Broken Heart Syndrome.”
Rather, BHS causes a part of your heart to temporarily enlarge, not pumping well, “while the rest of your heart functions normally or with even more forceful contractions,” the organization explains. “Researchers are just starting to learn the causes, and how to diagnose and treat it.”
Good News, Bad News
The American Heart Association notes that BHS is “usually treatable” and that most who experience it “make a full recovery within weeks, and they’re at low risk for it happening again (although in rare cases it can be fatal).”
But even if it’s not fatal, it can lead to severe, short-term heart muscle failure.
Here are the signs and symptoms that AHA advises you watch for:
Here are the full details if you’re interested in learning more about this phenomenon.
Going through a breakup — even when it is an uncontested divorce — can bring about feelings of heartache and agony. If you think you might be suffering a heart attack, there’s a chance it could instead be Broken Heart Syndrome. But either way, don’t take chances. See a doctor immediately.