Broken hearted syndrome: Is this real?

You probably picture a drawn cartoon with a jagged broken line through it when someone mentions a broken heart. However, there are actual cardiac consequences you can get from a real life broken heart. There have been ties established between heart disease, mental health and depression. Here is everything you need to know about broken hearted syndrome.

broken heart

The Breakdown

Also known as takotsubo cardiomyopathy or stressed-induced cardiomyopathy, broken heart syndrome can occur even in the healthiest people. Compared to men, women are more likely to experience the intense, sudden chest pain when the hormones of stress emerge. This can be caused by an event that is emotionally stressful such as romantic rejection betrayal, physical separation, breakup, divorce or even the death of a loved one. It might even happen after good stress occurs such as when you win the lottery.

The Same Symptoms?

Since the test results and symptoms are similar, there can be a misdiagnosis of broken heart syndrome. Most doctors may say that it is actually a heart attack. As a matter of fact, test results show huge changes in the blood substance and rhythm that you would also see in a heart attack. However, in broken heart syndrome, there are no blocked arteries of the heart. This is how you can tell the difference.

In this syndrome, there is a temporary enlargement in a part of your heart that fails to pump temporarily. The rest of the functions, however, are normal and may even have contractions that are more forceful. This can lead to short-term, severe failure of the heart muscle. Usually, broken heart syndrome can be treated. Within weeks, people who have gone through it fully recover. There is minimal risk for re-occurrence.

Broken Heart Syndrome and a Heart Attack- What’s The Difference?

Usually, the symptoms of broken heart syndrome occur after physical stress or extreme emotional pain. Many of the symptoms are the same, but there are distinct differences such as:

  • Broken heart syndrome involves quick recovery time within weeks or days compared to months for a heart attack.
  • Tests in broken heart syndrome show unusual left ventricle movements and ballooning
  • In broken heart syndrome, there is no heart damage shown in blood tests
  • Electrical activity in a broken heart syndrome EKG doesn’t look the same as the EKG activity of someone who has had a heart attack.

Broken Heart Syndrome- Know the Symptoms

Shortness of breath and chest pain or angina is the most common symptoms and signs of a broken heart. A heart that suddenly gets weak is unable to pump blood enough to meet the needs of the body. If treatment is not immediate, this can be fatal. When folks die of heart attacks, the most common cause of death is cardiogenic shock.

If broken heart syndrome is the diagnosis, a coronary angiography might be needed. This test uses special x-rays and dyes to reveal the coronary arteries within. Other tests for diagnosis include echocardiography, EKG and blood tests.

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