If you feel chest pain after a heated argument or severe emotional turmoil, it could be a sign of broken heart syndrome or takotsubo cardiomyopathy, a condition that occurs predominantly in women due to an imbalance of hormones. Heartbreak is a real condition that mimics a heart attack due to sudden stressors, writes the Times of India.
The syndrome is also known as apical ballooning syndrome, Gebrochen-Hertz syndrome or stress cardiomyopathy. Unlike a heart attack, broken heart syndrome occurs when sudden stress, whether physical or emotional, causes the heart muscle to rapidly weaken, doctors say.
The vast majority of broken heart syndrome victims are women, accounting for about 88% of reported cases. Most often, the abnormality occurs due to the onset of menopause and a decrease in levels of the hormone estrogen, which protects women's hearts from the damaging effects of stress. As estrogen levels decrease with age, women become more susceptible to stressful events. These events can include, but are not limited to, sudden serious illness, surgery, death of a loved one or other loss. Heartbreak syndrome has also been known to occur because of the excitement associated with joyful and happy events.
Symptoms. Experts believe that in most cases, sufferers do not realize they are suffering from this disorder, and despite some symptoms, they do not seek medical attention. Common symptoms include the following ailments.
Feeling of shortness of breath.
Other signs of acute heart failure.
Broken heart syndrome is considered reversible - it goes away after a few days or weeks. But it is also not ruled out to be life-threatening.