The Broken Heart Syndrome:Everything you Must Know about it

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Nov 19, 2014

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Quick Bites

  • Stress causes broken heart syndrome.
  • Loss of a loved one can lead to the syndrome.
  • A surge of stress hormones takes place.
  • No standard treatment is available for the syndrome.

A broken heart is a condition most people experience at least once in their lifetime. The prevalence of stressful conditions around makes us so vulnerable to experiencing a broken heart syndrome that we can't run from it. Situations like death of a loved one or losing out on a job you wanted the most could lead to a broken heart.

People with broken heart syndrome experience chest pain and at times it may feel like they are having a heart attack. The condition can temporarily disturb the normal pumping function of your heart, while the remaining heart functions do not get affected or do not experience any forceful contractions.

Broken Heart Syndrome

In medical terms the condition may also be called takotsubo cardiomyopathy, apical ballooning syndrome or stress cardiomyopathy. The syndrome is usually caused by a heart’s reaction to the surge of stress hormones.

Identifying Broken Heart Syndrome

The broken heart syndrome may be identified by a mimicked heart attack, accompanied by a chest pain and shortness of breath. If the chest pain lasts long it could be a sign of a real heart attack and the patient must be rushed to a doctor.

Broken Heart Syndrome

What Leads to Broken Heart Syndrome

Although the exact cause of the syndrome is not clear but it is believed that a surge of stress hormones, like adrenaline, might be responsible for the damage. How the surge of these hormones could cause damage to the heart is unclear though. The temporary constriction of small or large arteries may also have a role to play in the occurrence of the symptoms. The syndrome often is led by a severe physical or emotional event. Some of the causes could be:

  • Unexpected death of a loved one
  • Dreadful medical diagnosis
  • Domestic violence
  • Losing money
  • Natural disaster
  • Public performance
  • Loss of job
  • Divorce
  • Physical problems like asthma attack, a car accident or a major surgery


Getting Over Broken Heart Syndrome

There are no standard guidelines available to treat broken heart syndrome. Until the diagnosis is clear, the treatment remains the same as that of a heart attack. The patient is usually made to stay in the hospital during their recovery period. Once the cause of the symptoms becomes clear heart medications are prescribed. Normally, these medications are given to reduce the workload on the heart. Many patients do not take more than two months to recover thus, you must consult your doctor before discounting the treatment.

The syndrome can be treated with help of medications but, it requires a lot of motivation and a strong will to get over the loss.

Image courtesy: Getty Images

Read more Understand Heart Health.

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