Yes, “Broken Heart Syndrome” — medically referred to as stress cardiomyopathy — is an actual medical issue that can apparently be fatal in certain cases.
According to John Hopkins Medicine, the condition “can occur following a variety of emotional stressors” and, in rare cases, incite symptoms similar to a heart attack, including chest pain, shortness of breath, congestive heart failure and low blood pressure.
“Stress cardiomyopathy can definitely be life threatening in some cases,” warns John Hopkins Medicine. “Because the syndrome involves severe heart muscle weakness, patients can have congestive heart failure, low blood pressure, shock, and potentially life-threatening heart rhythm abnormalities.”
A post on the Mayo Clinic’s website echoes this warning, saying that, “In rare cases, broken heart syndrome is fatal.”
The Mayo Clinic added, “Broken heart syndrome affects women far more often than men. It appears that most people who have broken heart syndrome are women 50 or older.”
Symptoms can apparently be triggered by a variety of causes, including a romantic rejection, the unexpected death of a loved one, or even a frightening medical diagnosis.
So what can someone who might be suffering from a broken heart do to remedy the problem? Well, treatment is apparently similar to that of a heart attack.
“There are no standard treatment guidelines for treating broken heart syndrome,” according to the Mayo Clinic. “Treatment is similar to treatment for a heart attack until the diagnosis is clear. Most people stay in the hospital while they recover.”
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