So-called “broken heart syndrome,” once thought to be a harmless condition in women, can actually be as deadly as a heart attack, a new study shows.
Also, not only women experience the condition, known in medical circles as takotsubo cardiomyopathy. It has also been found to occur in men -- and for a variety of reasons, not only emotional stress, as was previously assumed.
Takotsubo cardiomyopathy was first described in Japan in 1990 and was characterized as a temporary heart problem that occurred in women following highly stressful events, such as the death of a spouse.
A Swiss research team looked at 1,750 patients with the condition and discovered that although it occurred in postmenopausal women 90 percent of the time, patients who are male and younger can also develop it, especially if they have a neurological disease or psychiatric problems.
Also, one in four sufferers had no identifiable stressors, the study found.
The condition is often misdiagnosed because its symptoms are similar to heart attack or unstable angina, the researchers reported in the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
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