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Can You Get Sick from a Broken Heart?

Updated: May 17, 2023

Got your heart broken recently? We’re sending you warm virtual hugs!

Heartbreaks are one of the saddest things a person can go through in their lifetime, and it’s (unfortunately) a common part of the human experience. When people get heartbroken, a flurry of activity happens within the body, from hormonal changes and mood swings to feeling physically out of sorts. For this reason, many often immediately link heartbreak to their emotional health.

But did you know that you can actually get physically sick from a broken heart too?

Yes, you read that right—and it’s called the Broken Heart Syndrome. This heart condition is quite serious and needs immediate medical attention. Read more about it below and how you can spot the signs of the condition.

Heart break

What is Broken Heart Syndrome?

Also known as stress cardiomyopathy or takotsubo cardiomyopathy, broken heart syndrome is a condition brought on by intense, stressful, and emotionally traumatizing events. It is characterized by heart attack-like symptoms, such as sudden chest pain and shortness of breath. Luckily, this condition is only temporary, so proper monitoring and rehabilitation will resolve this for most people in about a few weeks.

When Does Broken Heart Syndrome Happen?

When a person undergoes extreme emotional stress, the heart’s left ventricle may temporarily get paralyzed, disrupting the heart’s pumping of blood flow. This is what causes the sharp and sudden chest pain that people experience with this condition. The rest of the heart continues to work as normal.

However, it’s important to note that broken heart syndrome is not only triggered by actual heartbreak. It could be preceded by any shocking event, such as a death of a loved one, a very heated argument, or a major surgery. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a negative event either—shock from winning the lottery or some other unexpectedly positive life-changing event could trigger this condition too.

You could say broken heart syndrome is the reason why the warning “not for the faint of heart” was invented!

Symptoms of Broken Heart Syndrome

Broken heart syndrome can potentially develop into something fatal or dangerous if symptoms are not monitored closely, as it is comparable to symptoms of a heart attack. They include:

  • Sudden chest pain

  • Intense arm or shoulder pains

  • Shortness of breath

  • Dizziness

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Nausea and vomiting

It’s impossible to know if these symptoms point to a medically broken heart or a heart attack. So if you or someone you know is experiencing the above symptoms, seek medical attention by heading to the hospital right away.

Treatment for Broken Heart Syndrome

When it comes to heartbreak, only time will tell when things start to get better for you. There are things you can do to heal and move on from this sad experience. The same is true if you are suffering from broken heart syndrome.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a standard treatment for this heart condition yet, and you won’t be able to manage it at home. Currently, the rehabilitation and monitoring for broken heart syndrome are similar to heart attack patients, so you may need to stay in a hospital until you get an all-clear from your doctor.

Seeking Help For a Broken Heart

According to a study, the brain registers emotional pain similar to physical pain, which contributes to the feeling of physical hurt from the condition. So if you’ve ever felt like your heartbreak is actually painful, that’s because it probably is!

If you are feeling lonely, emotionally shattered, and depressed, you are free to have discreet conversations with mental health experts on the Doctor Anywhere app. You could also reach out to friends and family members who can give you comfort and support during your situation.

Don’t forget to take care of yourself and your well-being. Whether you’re single or in a relationship, take care of your heart, always!


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