Suffering From Broken Heart Syndrome? You’re Not Alone

by shannon carlin


The very wise Alicia Keys once asked, “Have you ever tried sleeping with a broken heart?” Well a new study says a lot of women have, and it’s not easy.

The research, conducted by the American Heart Association, says that women are seven to nine times more likely than men to suffer from Broken Heart Syndrome, which occurs after someone “suffers from a sudden or prolonged stress like an emotional breakup or death.” Though it’s easy to laugh this syndrome off, the study says it can lead to heart failure or heart attack-like symptoms. Yikes.

You don’t have to be brokenhearted to suffer from the syndrome, which definitely makes the name misleading. It can even occur after something good happens, like winning the lottery. The shock triggers a rush of adrenaline and other hormones, causing the heart’s main pumping chamber to balloon suddenly and malfunction. The test showed symptoms like a changing rhythm that are typical of a heart attack, but without the clogged arteries that actually cause one.

According to the numbers, women under 55 years old are nine times more likely to suffer the syndrome than men of that age. (Men are apparently less susceptible because of their dude hormones.) Though heart attacks are more likely in the winter (owe it to all the snow shoveling), Broken Heart Syndrome is more common in the summer. Who knew summer lovin’ could be so bad for your health?

Though it’s the first time this syndrome has been studied in the U.S., Japanese doctors recognized it in 1990 and named it Takotsubo cardiomyopathy. Tako tsubo are octopus traps that resemble the unusual pot-like shape of the stricken heart.

I’m still not sure if my heartbreaks need to be diagnosed–how about you ladies?

Photo courtesy of Photobucket




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