Are you broken-hearted because of a recent breakup or job loss and do you now feel that you’re having a heart attack because of it? It may not actually be a heart attack that you are experiencing but what’s referred to by the experts as broken heart syndrome.
But let’s get one very important thing straight: if you are experiencing chest pain that’s accompanied by other unusual symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, dizziness, shortness of breath, profuse sweating and pain that radiates from your chest to the arms or jaw, it is definitely a good idea for you to seek immediate medical assistance.
Going back to broken heart syndrome, it is something that’s similar to a heart attack in that it feels just like that — there’s chest pain and shortness of breath, too. However, health authorities say that broken heart syndrome is not deadly like a heart attack. In fact, the symptoms go away on their own after a while, leaving the individual unscathed albeit shaken and terrified.
In rare instances, broken heart syndrome can also be fatal just like a heart attack especially if the individual’s heart is already in a bad shape to begin with.
Broken heart syndrome is something that’s relatively new, and it’s exactly for this reason why experts have yet to understand it fully. Needless to say, they are not aware of the exact cause of this phenomenon.
They believe, however, that broken heart syndrome is brought about by a sudden surge in the levels of stress hormones, in particular adrenaline which is something that can cause increased heart rate, rapid breathing, excessive sweating, anxiety — pretty much the same things encountered while a heart attack is taking place.
Commonly, broken heart syndrome is preceded by any circumstance that can leave the individual experiencing intense physical and/or emotional stress.
Some examples of those include losing a loved one, divorce, heated arguments and being diagnosed (or sometimes misdiagnosed) with a serious medical condition. Sometimes even positive life events such as getting a surprise party or winning lots and lots of money can also cause broken heart syndrome.
Just like what’s mentioned earlier, someone who is experiencing broken heart syndrome may think that he or she is having a heart attack due to the fact that the two have a lot of symptoms in common.
Needless to say, a bout of broken heart syndrome can leave you experiencing chest pain and shortness of breath. It’s not unlikely for you to have fatigue, dizziness, profuse sweating and heart palpitations, too.
The common symptoms of broken heart syndrome may come into being seconds or minutes after encountering a stressful event. However, experts say that it is very much possible for the symptoms to show up hours after having a surge in the stress hormones.
The treatment for broken heart syndrome is the same treatment for a heart attack. This is especially true if it’s not yet established if the individual is in fact suffering from a heart attack or simply broken heart syndrome.
In identifying the problem, the person undergoes the very same tests used for someone who is suspected to be having a heart attack. Some examples of them include personal history and physical examination, blood tests, electrocardiogram or ECG, and chest x-ray. Once it is established that no heart attack is going on, it is then that the doctor will consider some other causes such as broken heart syndrome.
The symptoms of broken heart syndrome go away on their own even without any treatment — treatments for a heart attack won’t work on broken heart syndrome.
Unfortunately, in rare instances complications may strike. Some of them are low blood pressure, irregular heart rate or rhythm, damage to the heart valves, backing up of fluid in the lungs.