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Can One Really Die Of A Broken Heart?

Can One Really Die Of A Broken Heart?

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If you’re a fan of songs of the 70s, the Bee Gees may be a name familiar to you. One of their famous hits, How can you mend a broken heart? is popular until this very day. It narrates about the pain and suffering one experiences when he or she has a broken heart.


The question is, can a broken really be mended?


You may have heard or know of someone who passed away not long after their deceased loved one. This could probably be linked to a broken heart.


A broken heart is not just a metaphor to explain a painful experience, it is also known as a medical condition which usually occurs when one experiences a very stressful situation such as losing a loved one. The death of a spouse, loved one or child (especially an adult child) have been linked to higher mortality among their close family members.


In a 2003 study conducted in Denmark, it found that when a parent loses their child, the risk of death in the following year is 31 percent.


How Is It That A Broken Heart Can Lead To Death?


Broken Heart – A Syndrome


Broken heart syndrome is a temporary heart condition that’s often caused by the experience of a stressful situation. It can occur when you hear shocking news or information (typically the terrible sort). They include:


  • Hearing the news about the death of a loved one
  • Domestic abuse
  • Divorce
  • A shocking medical diagnosis
  • Loss of a job


Broken heart syndrome is also known as takotsubo cardiomyopathy. This syndrome causes a temporary disruption in your heart’s function whereby a part in your heart in the left ventricle enlarges and affects the way your heart pumps. Hence, when this occurs, the other areas of your heart will need to work extra hard.


This effect is caused by a sudden burst of high amounts of stress hormones such as adrenalin.


Your body releases large amounts of stress hormones when dealing with a stressful situation. These hormones passes through the bloodstream, including your heart. Hence, causing symptoms of a broken heart syndrome.


This syndrome can affect even the healthiest and women (as high as 90% of reported cases) are generally more likely to experience it as compared to men. On top of that, if you’ve experienced broken heart syndrome before, you could experience it again when faced with another stressful situation.


How Do I Know If I Have A Broken Heart?


The symptoms of broken heart syndrome mimic a heart attack. They include:


  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath


These symptoms can occur even if you do not have a medical history of cardiovascular diseases. These symptoms are treatable and should be temporary. However, if they persist, it is important that you seek medical help immediately.


At times, broken heart syndrome could lead to heart failure. Some other complications which are associated with this syndrome includes disruption to your heartbeat, hypotension which is low blood pressure, heart muscle failure and death.


Do I really have a broken heart?


There is a series of tests that your doctor may suggest to make a diagnosis. They include:


  • A physical examination
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Blood test
  • Coronary angiogram
  • Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)


Once your doctor has ruled out that you are not experiencing a heart attack and instead, a broken heart syndrome, he or she would then proceed with treatment.

The treatment for broken heart syndrome is similar to treating a heart attack. You may be required to stay in a hospital during treatment and for observation.


Is It Different From A Heart Attack?


Broken heart syndrome is not the same as a heart attack. Typically, symptoms of the former occur almost immediately after an extremely stressful situation. Besides that, individuals with a broken heart syndrome will not have the same test results as a person who is suffering from a heart attack.


A broken heart syndrome can affect anyone. Extreme amounts of stress could affect a person’s health tremendously. If not managed well, it could lead to a series of health conditions. Psychological support is essential to reduce the risk and effects of a broken heart.


On The Brighter Side…


A good bond and relationship with your loved ones is very important for your health too. A healthy relationship has been proven to reduce the risk of mental illnesses and Alzheimer’s Disease. Research has also shown that individuals with a strong social bond tend to live longer.

Naomi Truong

Naomi Troung is a YesMyWellness.com author covering topics such as fitness, relationship, beauty and general wellness and wellbeing issues. She is a certified Yoga teacher from the Yoga Institute in Mumbai India and yes, she is also Muay Thai enthusiast and can been working out her moves at her regular gym.

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