What Is Broken Heart Syndrome? Can It Kill You?

Last Update on December 14, 2021 : Published on December 15, 2021
broken heart syndrome

List of Contents

  • What Is Broken Heart Syndrome?
  • What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Broken Heart Syndrome?
  • What Causes Broken Heart Syndrome?

Have you heard of broken heart syndrome? It completely looks like a heart attack but it’s not. Yes the heart aches but not because of a blocked artery or some physical condition. Broken heart syndrome is because of acute stress.

Sometimes broken heart syndrome can be triggered because of an underlying physical illness but in most cases it is because of extreme emotional stress. The stress here has a physical response and affects a part of your heart.

Let’s jump right into it now. In this article we will discuss the cause, symptoms and treatment of broken heart syndrome.

Shall we begin?

What Is Broken Heart Syndrome?

Broken heart syndrome is also known as Stress Cardiomyopathy and Apical Ballooning Syndrome. In Japan, broken heart syndrome is known as Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy. Fortunately this is a temporary and reversible condition.

Broken heart syndrome feels very similar to a heart attack but it’s just a mimicry. All the signs look like a heart attack but actually broken heart syndrome only affects a part of the heart. It has an impact on the pumping function of the brain.

It is all because of acute stress, mostly emotional. When you are constantly going through extreme emotional stress the muscles of the heart weaken and that’s why the ventricular functions are affected.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Broken Heart Syndrome?

Like I said before, broken heart syndrome feels very much like a heart attack, therefore the symptoms also resemble a cardiac arrest. Here’s what the symptoms may look like:

  • Chest pain (quite obvious)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Panic
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Nausea
  • Low blood pressure

You might experience a couple of these symptoms or only one of them. The key point here is that these symptoms occur after you come across an emotional trigger or you’ve been through a stressful situation.

Also read: 7 Best Ways To Deal With Emotional Stress

What Causes Broken Heart Syndrome?

The main cause is stress. When you experience a broken heart syndrome, the stress in your life is responsible for your condition. Emotional stress is what makes your muscles of the heart weak and that is how the pumping is altered. Here’s a list of all the emotional stressor that behave as the causing factors:

  • Loss of a loved one by death
  • Some shocking bad news
  • Intense fear/ phobia
  • Extreme level of aggression/anger
  • Good news (in some cases unexpected good news can also trigger broken heart syndrome)

There are some physical stressors too that can be responsible for broken heart syndrome.

  • Participating in a physically stressful and exhausting event
  • Health issues like asthma, dyspnea, seizures, stroke, surgery, etc.
  • If you are in stress because of severe pain

These are a few reasons that can make you go through the broken heart syndrome, stress being constant is all the situational factors. I think it can be rightly said that when your heart aches in an emotional situation it is all because of stress.

“My heart is broken” is not just a phrase. A person’s heart can actually be broken because of emotional setbacks and schock which can result in severe danger.

Also read: Want To Be Emotionally Supportive In A Relationship? Here’s What You Can Do

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1.  Is broken heart syndrome real?

Broken heart syndrome is real. It is a physical response to the emotional stress that you may be experiencing. Constant and extreme emotional stress weakens the muscles of our heart and hence it begins to ache.

Q2. How common is broken heart syndrome?

It is very difficult to assume how common or uncommon the condition is because in most cases it goes unidentified. However, according to a survey around 2% of all heart attack cases are cases of broken heart syndromes. Although experts believe that the number is highly underestimated.

Q3. Can broken heart syndrome kill you?

Broken hearts being fatal is very, very rare. Till date only 1 % of all broken heart syndrome cases have proven to be fatal. It is a temporary condition and patients can make a full, healthy recovery.

Q4. How long does broken heart syndrome last?

Broken heart syndrome can last from anything between a few minutes to many hours. It’s not as deadly as it may sound but the pain and suffering is intense. It’s best to rush to the nearest hospital so that the symptoms can be treated.

Q5. How to treat broken heart syndrome?

A broken heart syndrome’s treatment process is not very complex. Once your doctor has gone through all your tests, they will prescribe some medicines to reduce your physical symptoms alongside an anti-anxiety drug to reduce your stress.

I hope you found this article interesting. A broken heart syndrome is caused by emotional stress. Let us all make sure we do not break someone’s heart to such an extent. Do comment and let us know if you like reading such blogs and what else you would like to read about?

Thanks for reading

Take care and don’t break anyone’s heart!

About The Author

Kirti Bhati
Kirti Bhati

I am an English literature (major) and psychology (minor) graduate from St. Bede’s College, Shimla. Postgraduate in Clinical psychology from IIS University, Jaipur. She has published a Research paper on Music therapy in the military population and Workplace stress in a national seminar conducted by Fortis hospital (gurugram) and international seminar conducted by St. Bede’s College, Shimla, Respectively. Authored a dissertation work on ‘effect of social media addiction on the mental and physical well-being in adolescents’ Currently working at calm sage as a writer.

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