Were You Heartbroken this Valentine’s Day?

Did your loved one forget the flowers or cancel the candlelight yesterday? Worse still, did cupids arrow miss entirely, and you ended up getting ditched or dumped?

If so, you may well be feeling brokenhearted today. And before someone tells you there’s no such thing as a broken heart, take heart!

According to Dr. Binh An P. Phan, a cardiologist at  Loyola University, a broken heart is an actual medical condition. Broken heart syndrome can occur during highly stressful or emotional times, such as a painful breakup, the death of a spouse, the loss of a job or extreme anger.

Not that you’ll find the term “broken heart syndrome” in any medical text book.  Professionals refer to it as stress cardiomyopathy. During an extremely stressful event, the heart can be overwhelmed by a surge of adrenalin and other stress hormones. This can cause a narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the heart, similar to what happens during a heart attack. Symptoms are also similar to those of a heart attack, and include chest pain and difficulty breathing.

But, unlike a heart attack, broken heart syndrome is reversible.  Over time, the symptoms go away. And unlike heart attack patients, people with broken heart syndrome do not suffer lasting damage to their hearts.  Their wallets maybe, their pride – almost certainly – but not their hearts!

Still, as it’s difficult to distinguish between broken heart syndrome and a heart attack, SRxA’s Word on Health advises anyone experiencing symptoms such as chest pain and difficulty breathing to call 911.

Who knows?  You could even meet your Valentine while getting checked out at the hospital!

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