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'Broken Heart Syndrome' Can Be Deadly

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Friday, 03 Oct 2014 03:53 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Is it really possible to die from a broken heart? The answer is yes, if you suffer from “broken heart syndrome,” a temporary weakening of the heart muscle that occurs with sudden stress.
 
This syndrome was first identified around 1990 by Japanese cardiologists, who named it “takotsubo cardiomyopathy” because the stricken heart resembles a takotsubo, which is the Japanese term for an octopus trap. The condition can occur when a person experiences a particularly big shock, such as the death of a loved one or an emotional breakup; or even good news, like a lottery win.
 
The shock triggers a rush of adrenaline and other stress hormones that cause the heart’s main pumping chamber to balloon. This, in turn, causes irregular heart rhythms similar to those that occur during a heart attack. Unlike most heart attacks, though, there are no artery blockages or blood clots with this condition.
 
Recently, researchers at the University of Arkansas completed the first national study on broken heart syndrome in the U.S. They found that it occurs 7.5 times more often in women than men, and is three times more common in women over the age of 55.
 
Theories to explain the gender discrepancy include hormonal differences and the fact that men are able to handle adrenalin surges better because they have more receptors on their hearts.
 
Happily, most patients recover. But the study showed that it is fatal about 1 percent of the time. The research also found that about 10 percent of victims suffer a second episode sometime during their lives, and that this syndrome occurs most commonly in the summer, which is also when most heart attacks occur.
 

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Dr-Crandall
Is it really possible to die from a broken heart? The answer is yes, if you suffer from “broken heart syndrome,” a temporary weakening of the heart muscle that occurs with sudden stress.
heart health, heart attack, cardiomyopathy
276
2014-53-03
Friday, 03 Oct 2014 03:53 PM
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