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Home and Health
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Love is a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person.  

However, what happens when we part with our loved ones for a long time or forever?

We often hear and say “my heart is broken”, or “aching heart”

Can strong emotions lead to heartache and make you feel like your heart is broken? As it turns out, yes, it is possible.

This phenomenon is called broken heart syndrome. For the first time, it was described by the Japanese scientist Hikaru Sato in 1990 and received the name "Takotsubo cardiomyopathy" (from the Japanese "takotsubo" - a ceramic pot with a round base and a narrow neck).


Broken heart syndrome is a temporary and reversible heart condition whose symptoms mimic those of a heart attack. Unlike a heart attack, broken heart syndrome happens when a sudden physical or emotional stress causes a rapid weakening of your heart muscle.

You may think you’re having a heart attack because the symptoms, such as shortness of breath and chest pain, are similar in both conditions. However, in broken heart syndrome, you (in most cases) don’t have blocked coronary arteries or permanent heart damage, and usually make a fast and full recovery. 



What kinds of emotions and stress can cause Broken heart syndrome? 

The following are examples of sudden emotional stressors that can result in Broken Heart Syndrome:

  • Extreme anger.
  • Sudden good news
  • Bad news
  • Grief from the death of a loved one and other huge or meaningful losses (e.g., relationship, job, home, money, beloved pet).
  • Intense fear (e.g., public speaking, armed robbery, car accident).

The following are examples of sudden physical stress factors that may cause Broken Heart Syndrome:

  • Severe pain.
  • An exhausting physical event.
  • Health issues, including asthma attack, difficulty breathing (dyspnea), seizure, stroke, high fever, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), large blood loss, surgery.

Can I die of heartbreak syndrome?

In most cases, heartbreak syndrome is a short and temporary condition with complete recovery. 

How common is broken heart syndrome?

The medical literature reports that broken heart syndrome occurs in about 2% of patients who reported a heart attack. However, it is considered an underestimation of the actual number of cases because the condition is often not recognized.

What causes broken heart syndrome?

The exact cause for the broken heart syndrome is not completely understood. When you react to physical or emotional stress, your body releases stress hormones in your blood like adrenaline, noradrenaline, epinephrine and norepinephrine. Experts believe that these hormones temporarily disrupt the operation of your heart.

Broken heart syndrome:

  • Disrupts your heart’s normal, steady rhythm (pattern of heartbeats).
  • Causes part of your heart to temporarily enlarge (the lower part of your left ventricle).
  • Leads to even more forceful contractions in other areas of your heart.

These changes cause temporary heart muscle failure.

How to prevent broken heart syndrome?

There is no known cure to prevent heart syndrome. However, learning stress management and problem-solving skills can contribute to improving physical and emotional conditions.

Engaging in relaxation techniques can also be helpful. Some examples include:

  • Practicing yoga, meditation, journaling, or mindfulness.
  • Taking a warm bath; lighting scented candles; taking long, deep breaths and slowly exhaling.

Moreover, the management of physical or emotional stress can be helped by following general healthy habits too. For example:

  • Eating a healthy meal
  • Exercise regularly. (at least five times a week for 30 minutes).
  • Getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
  • Spending time with others.
  • Keeping your medical appointments, for both follow up and preventive health screenings. Finding and addressing health problems early always leads to the best result for long and healthy life.
  • Avoid or, more importantly, stop making unhealthy choices such as smoking, illicit drug use and alcoholism.



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