With every young adult comes a first heartbreak. It is inevitable in life to experience heartbreak, whether it is immediately forgotten or sticks with you for life. Most parents tell their children, "oh, you just have a broken heart, it'll mend." However, what they likely didn't know is that Heart Syndrome is a true phenomenon. There is extremely low mortality from it, but there are cases. Heart muscle failure occurs when the body is overcome with extreme emotional or physical stress. In this article, learn more about this syndrome and why maintaining optimal heart health is so important for optimal health and longevity.

What is Broken Heart Syndrome?

Broken heart syndrome is a temporary heart condition that can be brought on by stressful situations and extreme emotions. An excessive amount of stress hormone can trigger this event. The condition can also be triggered by physical illness or surgery. Broken heart syndrome only affects part of the heart, and the rest of the heart continues to pump properly. It is an uncommon syndrome. Broken heart syndrome symptoms can mimic a heart attack and include chest pain and heart palpitations. The symptoms of broken heart syndrome are treatable. More long-lasting pain should be evaluated further because it could be a sign of a heart attack.

Are broken heart syndrome and a heart attack the same thing?

Many of you may be wondering if broken heart syndrome and heart attacks are the same thing. Technically, no, they are not the same thing. While both the syndrome and disease have similar symptoms, they have different etiologies.

The primary etiology of a heart attack is clogged arteries or blood clots. With the build-up of plaque or with blockage of the arteries in a heart attack, you may experience  symptoms like shortness of breath or chest pain. These are similar  symptoms that people with broken heart syndrome may feel. As mentioned above, the primary etiology of broken heart syndrome is stress, extreme emotion, or surgery.  A large area of heart muscle failure because of the surge of hormones attacking it. There is extensive testing that is performed with heart-related conditions, and many of these tests show that both heart-related conditions go hand in hand. Electrocardiograms, also known as EKGs, can reveal similar patterns, but an angiogram can help differentiate these two conditions. An abnormal angiogram which reveals blocked arteries is more consistent with a recent heart attack, while a normal angiogram can be consistent with many heart conditions, including but not limited to broken heart syndrome.

How Does Grief Mimic a Heart Attack?

A broken heart can feel like real physical pain, and some researchers believe that grief in and of itself can cause broken heart syndrome. This is when the stress of a loss or other stressful event triggers high-stress hormones, and these hormones can then damage the heart muscle and lead to symptoms that mimic a heart attack. While broken heart syndrome is usually not fatal, it can be very dangerous and should always be taken seriously by medical professionals. It is extremely rare for someone to die of a broken heart, but it is imperative to have a full workup performed with any type of chest pain to better understand the etiology of the pain.

This syndrome is famously known as Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy because this is the doctor that discovered the syndrome originally. Through many tests, he found that the left ventricle of the heart spasms due to a flood of hormones. A surge of adrenaline causes the muscle of the heart to contract. This is how an EKG can be mimicked as a heart attack, but no blood clots will be in sight.

Once the spasms stop, blood flow can return to the heart, and failure will subside. There have been cases reported where the hormones are so greatly affecting the patient that the heart failure doesn't stop. However, these are extremely rare cases.

Can Depression Increase Your Risk of Heart Failure?

A suddenly weakened heart isn't something anyone should have to deal with, but unfortunately, it does occur on rare occasions. As stated before, many emotions impact heart health, including stress and anxiety, as well as depression and other mental health disorders. It is crucial to prioritize your full body health including mental health. We can continue to optimize our nutrition, exercise, sleep, supplement and medication routine.

Mental health is an important subject that should be addressed at all times. We, as individuals, can optimize our stress levels and overall mood. This can positively impact our heart health.

Do Emotions Affect Blood Pressure?

In the same vein, emotions play a big role in our bodies. Increased stress levels are thought to increase blood pressure, known as hypertension. Maintaining a positive attitude, and positive emotions, correlate with better overall health.

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Key Takeaways About Broken Heart Syndrome.

Now that you know more about Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, you know that Japanese researchers were the ones to discover this potentially life-threatening syndrome. Most people experience a “broken heart” in the metaphorical term, but rarely do they experience true heart damage. However, these forceful contractions that mimic a heart attack should be taken seriously, as it is challenging to differentiate between the different forms of heart disease in early stages of presentation. If you experience chest pain, you should seek immediate medical attention in an urgent care or emergency setting. It is also beneficial to work with a more holistic doctor and get further testing done. Index Health is here for any alternative medical  needs.


What is a Cardiogenic Shock?

Cardiogenic shock is a medical emergency in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body's needs. It can be caused by a heart attack when the heart muscle is damaged and cannot pump as efficiently. Cardiogenic shock can also be caused by other conditions that damage the heart or prevent it from pumping properly, such as cardiomyopathy, myocarditis, or endocarditis. Treatment for cardiogenic shock focuses on supporting the heart and managing the underlying condition.

What is Takotsubo Syndrome?

The blood clot can block one of the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart muscle. If the blockage is not treated quickly, it can cause permanent damage to the heart cells. Takotsubo Syndrome can be fatal if the heart cannot pump enough blood to the rest of the body.

What is the American Heart Association?

The American Heart Association is a voluntary health organization that aims to reduce disability and death from cardiovascular diseases and stroke. The organization was founded in 1924 and today has over 22 million members. The American heart association funds research, provides educational materials and programs, and advocates for public health policies. The organization's headquarters are in Dallas, Texas.

What Does the Cleveland Clinic Do?

Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit academic medical center based in Cleveland, Ohio. It is one of the largest healthcare organizations in the world, with over 43,000 employees. The clinic provides patient care, research, and education. It also operates eight hospitals in the United States and two in Canada.