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Broken Heart Syndrome?

Yes, it’s real…

"Radiology Picture of the Day"

Photo taken by Radiology Picture of the Day, Edited by Yasmin Kibria

The broken heart syndrome is a temporary heart condition brought on by stressful situations–both excessively happy or excessively sad or tragic moments.  The symptoms may be brought on by the heart’s reaction to a surge of stress hormones.  A flood of stress hormones and adrenaline causes part of the heart to enlarge temporarily and triggers symptoms that can look like heart attack: chest pain, shortness of breath, irregular heart rhythm. The difference is that the factors that would normally cause heart attack, such as a blocked artery, aren’t present.

The University of Arkansas performed a study which looked at rates of “broken heart syndrome” — when a sudden shock or prolonged stress causes heart attack-like symptoms or heart failure — and found that it overwhelmingly affects women.

Dr. Abhishek Deshmukh, a cardiologist at the University of Arkansas who has treated women with broken heart syndrome, became curious about just how gender-specific the condition was.He found that, overall, women had about 7.5 times the risk of broken heart syndrome as men; in people under 55, women were at 9.5 times greater risk than men. Women over 55 were also three times more likely to suffer broken heart syndrome than younger women.

Why does this gender imbalance occur? Researchers are still working towards finding an answer, but it has been speculated that hormones come into play.

The way to mend a broken heart? Literally let it heal over time–it’ll be fine soon enough.

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1 Comment

  1. sweetasglucose

    My goodness! This was a shocking and sad blog. I knew about heart attacks, but I had never heard about broken heart syndrome. After reading the events that may cause broken heart syndrome, for ex: a surprise party, death of a loved one, loss of money, I could understand why women suffered more than men. My idea may be sexist, but the women in my life have much less control of their emotions then men. I also looked up the ratio of men and women who suffer heart attacks. I was surprised to find that women under 50 were twice as likely than men to die of a heart attack. Hopefully as they solve the gender imbalance of broken heart syndrome they also study heart attacks. Here is a link to women heart disease facts to see the correlation yourself.

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