Dating & Relationship

Broken Heart Syndrome

In July of 2009, Lisa Wysocky landed in the ER, claiming that she had a heart attack after spending a night on her bedroom floor in excruciating pain. Did she really have a heart attack, or was it something else? Wysocky’s adult son had passed away the previous day after an overdose, due to a struggle with mental illness. After the doctors ran a few tests on her, they concluded it wasn’t a heart attack. It was actually what doctors call takotsubo cardiomyopathy, apical ballooning syndrome, or stress cardiomyopathy.

We know it as the broken heart syndrome. “Broken heart” is not simply a term coined by romantic novelists, angsty love-sick teens, or Hollywood movies. Rather, it is a real, severe medical condition. In broken heart syndrome, there is a temporary disruption of your heart’s normal pumping function, while the remainder of the heart functions normally, or with even more forceful contractions. Doctors know that patients diagnosed with broken heart syndrome usually have just undergone stressful situations, which yielded major stress on their heart’s functioning ability.

Cardiologist Ian Winston has been studying the condition for a decade, and states that several of his broken-hearted patients had just experienced the death of a loved one, or trauma such as a severe car accident or robbery. When undergoing broken heart syndrome, your body releases a vast amount of chemicals and this sudden flood can shock your heart muscle, leaving it unable to pump like it normally would.  As a result, the patient may develop fatal heart failure. Doctors advise those that are experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath, arm pain, or sweating, in fear that they are experiencing an extreme case of heartbreak syndrome, rather than a minor case, should check into a hospital immediately.

Have you ever gone through a heartbreak? How did you overcome it?

Preview photo credit Psych2Go


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Psych2Go is innovative for spreading discussion of mental health and psychology topics that are complex, however, they are presented in an accessible, light, and fun way by using friendly animated characters.
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