Love Hurts: Yes, Broken Heart Syndrome is a Real Medical Condition That Affects the Heart in a Physical Way!

The correct medical term for ‘broken heart syndrome’ is takotsubo cardiomyopathy or stress-induced cardiomyopathy. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), broken heart syndrome can occur when there is extreme stress and trauma, such as in the loss of a loved one to death or a breakup, or during and after natural or man-made disasters and war.

Japanese physician Hikaru Sato first described broken heart syndrome in 1991 as a “temporary condition that resembles a heart attack but rarely leads to death.” According to Harvard Medical School, more than 90 percent of reported cases occur in middle aged women and the most common symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, sweating and fainting.

The physical manifestations of this syndrome are that the left heart ventricle is found to be enlarged and difficult to pump blood. Scientist point to an increase in stress hormones during these traumatic events that can temporarily weaken the heart.

The good news is that a broken heart can indeed be mended. If your condition is determined to be broken heart syndrome after proper diagnostic testing, medications to strengthen the heart muscle can reverse this condition, along with any lifestyle change that would promote a happier, healthier, stress-free life.