Can you really die from a broken heart?

Have you ever wondered why Rihanna in her song “Unfaithful” was so scared of being a murderer if she came clean to her significant other? Or why you experience pain inside your chest after heartbreak from either a death of a loved one or a break up?

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Well, that’s called Heart Break Syndrome. Yes, believe it or not, it’s actually a real thing  and it can kill.

Heart Break Syndrome is scientifically known as takotsubo cardiomyopathy or stress-induced cardiomyopathy. It is commonly misdiagnosed as a heart attack as symptoms seem to be similar – difficulty breathing, chest pain, and a drop in blood pressure. However unlike a heart attack, it doesn’t block any arteries in the heart. Instead it weakens and changes the shape of the left ventricle; this affects the heart’s ability to pump blood.

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Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is difficult to diagnose, though according to Dr Ha Nguyen, “if we image the left ventricle we can see abnormal contractions and a ballooning”

This can occur due to extreme emotional or physical trauma and stress such as death of a loved one, breakup, divorce or separation, betrayal, shock or romantic rejection. Not only that, it can occur also from positive stress such as winning the lottery or even being surprised at your own birthday party.

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According to the American Heart Association, women are more likely to experience this sudden and intense chest pain because more stress hormones are released during emotional events than men. Although, there is currently no established treatment for Broken Heart Syndrome, it can take up to several weeks to recover from it. This comes with a possibility of being at risk of fatal heart failures.

Every year millions of lonely people … die broken-hearted, long before their time. It’s a silent epidemic – Dr. Lynch.

It’s no coincidence when we hear stories of elderly people passing shortly after their significant other dies. Last year, Debbie Reynolds passed away a day after her daughter Carrie Fisher, who was an actress, died from a heart attack. The causes for Reynolds death is unknown. “I miss her so much. I want to be with Carrie,” Reynolds, heart broken, told her son before she died.

So be careful when you go breaking someone’s heart, you don’t want to end up being a murderer.

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