Yes, you heard it right. Broken heart syndrome is an actual medical condition! Loyola University Health System cardiologist, Dr. Sara Sirna, says that Broken heart syndrome occurs during highly stressful or emotional times, such as divorce, the death of a spouse, a serious medical diagnosis or significant financial problems.
Broken heart syndrome is also known as stress-induced cardiomyopathy, Takosubo’s cardiomyopathy or transient apical ballooning syndrome. The underlying cause is not known but is thought to be secondary to the release of adrenalin and other stress hormones that have a deleterious effect on the heart.
Symptoms typically include chest pain and difficulty breathing, and can easily be mistaken for a heart attack. Broken heart syndrome typically occurs in patients older than 50 and is more common in women, although it also can occur in younger women and men.
It is like a heart attack, but does no lasting damage. Unlike a heart attack, broken heart syndrome usually is reversible and most affected individuals regain cardiac function within a short period of time. It’s often difficult to tell the difference between broken heart syndrome and a heart attack. Dr. Sirna says to call an ambulance if you experience symptoms such as chest pain and difficulty breathing and better don’t assume you’re having broken heart syndrome!
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