"Broken Heart Syndrome" -- An Actual Medical Condition?

It's called "stress-induced cardiomyopathy, and heart experts say its symptoms mimic that of an actual heart attack.
by Victoria Price

LUBBOCK, TX -- T
here are few things worse than a broken heart. But believe it or not, that emotional heartbreak can actually pose a physical hazard to your health.

"Broken heart syndrome, in the medical community we call it 'stress-induced cardiomyopathy," according to Dr. Mohammad Otahbachi, a cardiologist with Covenant Health.

"People who are affected with 'broken heart syndrome', their heart gets paralyzed, a majority of the heart muscle gets paralyzed, and the majority of the heart gets swollen," he says.

Upsetting situations, like the loss of a loved one, can actually release stress hormones that paralyze cardiac muscles.

Symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath and dizziness...all the same, as having an actual heart attack.

"In fact, when people with broken heart syndrome present to the hospital, based on the stories, sometimes it's very hard to tell if its a broken heart syndrome or this an actual heart attack," Otahbachi says.

But he says there can be an opposite reaction, too...that being in love can do a heart some good.

"I mean, anything positive feeling, it helps to decrease the stress hormone in the body, will help the mind heart and body and overall the person," he says.

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