Having a broken heart feels freakin’ awful emotionally, but did you know it can affect your physical health, too? And we don’t just mean the ice cream headaches, loss of appetite, or puffy eyes that often come after a split–we’re talking something that can legit kill you. Yikes “Broken heart syndrome” is a real thing, and it’s pretty scary… But don’t worry, because you’re probably not at risk for it, even if you did just go through a really tough breakup.
“Broken heart syndrome” is a sadder, if less scientific, term for stress cardiomyopathy. What happens in stress cardiomyopathy is, the stress someone is under causes their adrenaline to go nuts, a result of which is a lot hormones sent to your heart. At that point, your heart can stop–but it’s different from a regular heart attack, because it’s not caused by a blockage or any other typical heart issue.
That said, a lot of the symptoms of broken heart syndrome mimic regular heart attacks: People feel shortness of breath and chest pain–but there’s usually no permanent damage. Phew!
Here’s what sucks though: Women get broken heart syndrome a lot more than men do. This isn’t necessarily because we’re more brokenhearted than men are, but because docs suspect that changes in our estrogen levels when we get older may be what helps trigger it. It happens often after the loss of a loved one, because it affects our emotional, mental, and physical stress levels so greatly.
On the bright side, you won’t have to worry about broken heart syndrome until after menopause–and by then, docs will probably be able to narrow down its biggest causes (other than a lost love, that is) and prevent it! In the meantime, remembering that a broken heart isn’t the end of the world will likely keep your stress levels down–and keep a broken heart from being the end of your life!
Have you ever had a broken heart? Do you think broken heart syndrome is real? Has a broken heart ever affected you physically? Tell us in the comments!