Broken Heart Syndrome, Yes! That’s An Actual Thing

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Broken heart syndrome (BHS), also known as stress-induced cardiomyopathy is a heart condition which we experience in extremely stressful situations, a heartbreak, death of someone close to heart, surgery or severe illness.

People with this disease often experience feelings like sudden chest pain which they often mistake with a heart attack as well. In a situation like this, our heart temporarily enlarges and does not pump the blood as it should. It stops functioning normally for a while. Researchers are just starting to learn the causes, and how to diagnose and treat it.

Symptoms Of Broken Heart Syndrome

A broken heart is often mistaken and confused with a heart attack as the symptoms are almost the same. Some of the common symptoms include:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath

The symptoms of broken heart syndrome are treatable, and the condition usually reverses itself in days or weeks.

Causes Of Broken Heart Syndrome

Researchers are still unable to find the exact cause of this syndrome. It is still unclear why it happens.

A temporary constriction of the large or small arteries of the heart has been suspected to play a role.

Broken heart syndrome is often preceded by an intense physical or emotional event. Some triggers of this syndrome are:

  • Sudden sad news such as the death of a loved one
  • An unexpected medical diagnosis
  • Domestic abuse
  • Strong arguments
  • Losing a job
  • Divorce or Separation
  • Physical stress, such as an asthma attack or a car accident

How We Can Differentiate Broken Heart Syndrome From A Heart Attack?

Heart attacks are different and are caused by a different reason. Heart attacks are generally caused by a blocked heart artery. The blockage is sometimes due to a blood clot and sometimes because of the narrowing of the artery. In this syndrome, the heart arteries are not blocked, although blood flow in the arteries of the heart may be reduced because of the irregular functioning of the heart.


If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, talk to your doctor. If your doctor thinks you are suffering from a broken heart syndrome, they’ll ask you to go through some tests to determine the exact situation. Following are the tests they might ask you to go through.

  • Personal History and Physical Exam:
    Doctors will thoroughly go through your medical conditions physically and in addition, they’ll want you to talk about your other medical history. Whether you’ve had a heart attack, any other heart disease or other diseases. People who suffer from broken heart syndrome usually do not suffer from any medical diseases previously but the doctor would want to know the exact cause of any major stresses recently.
  • Blood Tests:
    The doctors might want to get your blood tests done just to make sure how your enzymes are working. Most people who experience broken heart syndrome have an increased amount of enzymes in their blood.
  • Chest X-ray:
    Doctors will want you to get your chest x-ray done to know if your heart is enlarged or not. An enlarged heart is usually a sign of BHS.


It has been a while and researchers are still unable to find a suitable treatment which can actually treat broken heart syndrome. The treatments currently help broken heart syndrome is nearly the same as a heart attack.

Once it is evident that you’re suffering from this syndrome, your doctor would want you to stay in the hospital for a while and will treat you with medicines used to treat a heart attack.

Various patients recover within a month and get off of their medicines in three to six months. But there are times when doctors will perform surgery to place stents just to help your heart perform better.

If you experience similar symptoms, you need to see your doctor immediately or get professional help. If you are confused which doctor to talk to, call at 03111222398 or log on to to book a consultation with the right doctor.

Save your heart from breaking! 😀

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Javeria Adil Chughtai

Javeria Adil Chughtai

A journalist and a medical researcher by profession, badminton player and photographer by passion. You can call me an artist but No, I can't draw you! 😀

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