What Is Broken Heart Syndrome? Know Its Symptoms, Causes And Treatment

Do not let extreme sadness or grief affect your heart as it can cause broken heart syndrome. Read more details here.

Chanchal Sengar
Written by: Chanchal SengarPublished at: Sep 01, 2022Updated at: Sep 01, 2022
What Is Broken Heart Syndrome? Know Its Symptoms, Causes And Treatment

A heart break or sad news can cause a broken heart. But few know that this could lead to  a serious condition. Apart from the emotional angle, there is a critical health angle to a broken heart which leads to the broken heart syndrome. A rare ailment, TCM or BHS (Broken Heart Syndrome) only affects three to four percent of the world's population. Only two percent of individuals with heart attacks who are rushed to the emergency room are discovered to have BHS, with the remaining 98% being cases of heart attacks or myocardial infarction. In 85% of cases, women are the ones who are most affected, particularly postmenopausal women who are often older than 50. Men make up 10%–15% of the cases. Onlymyhealth reached out to Dr. V. Rajasekhar, Senior Consultant Interventional Cardiologist & Electrophysiologist, Certified Specialist for TAVR (Percutaneous Trans Aortic Valve Replacement) at Yashoda Hospitals Hyderabad, to know about this syndrome in detail.

What is broken heart syndrome?

Broken heart syndrome is an unexpected phenomenon that results from an abrupt rise in stress hormone levels and the sympathetic nervous system's activity. Acute grief over a loved one's passing or some extremely awful news, such as financial loss, relationship breakups, divorce, etc., are some of the trigger factors for BHS that occur most frequently. Additionally, physical stress from things like brain haemorrhage, severe septicemia, accidents, and pregnancy-related issues can result in the weakening of the heart muscles. Rarely, it can be brought on by excessive physical or even sexual activity.

How is broken heart syndrome diagnosed?

For heart-related conditions, ECG is said to be the go-to test but it is challenging to diagnose BHS just from an ECG or Echocardiogram due to the similarities between the symptoms of the condition and heart attacks. "We carry out exclusionary diagnostics. We can determine that the patient's current condition may be caused by BHS after ruling out genuine heart attacks and other cardiac conditions by clinical examinations, medical history inquiries of the patients and their families, and coronary angiograms. As a result, the recommended course of treatment is supportive medication to reduce the symptoms of heart failure, lessen chest pain, and ease breathing difficulties,” says Dr. Rajasekhar.

Broken Heart Syndrome

Reasons behind BHS (Broken Heart Syndrome)

  • The loss of a loved one 
  • Relationship breakdowns or divorce 
  • Significant financial or occupational losses 
  • An unexpectedly ominous medical diagnosis 

Some Physical factors

  • Serious mishaps, such as head injuries
  • Conditions including COVID-19, neurological conditions such epilepsy, problems during pregnancy, and septicaemia
  • A significant operation
  • Significant effort from exercising
  • Some asthma and depression medications that cause the release of stress hormones
Broken Heart Syndrome

Broken heart syndrome can be easily managed and treated if right care is given on time. People should make an effort to manage their stress levels to prevent complications associated with this emotional breakdown. Within a few weeks to a few months, the patient fully recovers in 80% to 90% of cases, provided they receive proper medical care and close attention. It is not easy to overcome sadness and grief but it can be life-threatening for some people especially those with a weak heart.

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