Is “Broken Heart Syndrome” Real or Not?

Apparently, it is medically real!

broken heart

We often associate the term “brokenhearted” when a person breaks up with us. Or when people take us for granted; and if they leave us… forever. We feel depressed, our chest hurts from crying, we thought life was miserable.

Sadly, those physical symptoms we feel when we are “broken-hearted” are inclined with the symptoms of “broken heart syndrome.” To know more about it, we asked a Cardiologist to explain the truth behind it.

Conversely, since February is American Heart Month, as well as, the month we celebrate the Valentine’s Day, all articles you may come across online are all about “matters of the heart.”

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As such, I am sharing with you the part two of my interview with Dr. Rex Vener Palma, head of the Cardiology department of Tagaytay Medical Center.

You may read the first part of the interview here: Expert’s Advice: 5 Realistic Ways To Keep Our Hearts Healthy

In this second edition, I asked Dr. Palma, the truth about the “Broken heart syndrome.”  The first time I heard of the term was back in College. But, recently, one of my friends was diagnosed with having one. From what I know, she’s suffered misfortunes last year, and barely coping now.

As explained by Dr. Palma, broken heart syndrome is real. Let’s read his explanations, shall we?

When In Manila Millie: What is a broken heart syndrome? Is that real or a myth?

Dr. Palma: Broken heart syndrome is real! In medical parlance, we call that “Takotsubo cardiomyopathy” or stress-induced cardiomyopathy. (Takotsubo is a Japanese term for a pot-like shape octopus traps, that resemble the appearance of the heart of individuals stricken with this disease). I have actually seen 3 patients in my 6 years of practice.

It is more common in women than in men.

When In Manila Millie: When does it occur?

Dr. Palma: It usually occurs during stressful events- a death of a loved one, extreme anger, betrayal, romantic rejection, break-ups, and even extreme shock be it due to a bad or good event such as winning a lottery.


When In Manila Millie: What are the causes of broken heart syndrome?

Dr. Palma: It is caused by a sudden surge of stress hormones such as epinephrine or norepinephrine. There is temporary enlargement of a heart chamber and transient weakness of heart muscle.

When In Manila Millie: Ohhhhh, so it can also mimic heart attack symptoms?

Dr. Palma: The symptom can easily be mistaken for a heart attack due to the presence of chest pain and difficulty in breathing, and sometimes loss of consciousness. The good news is, if identified and managed adequately, it can be reversible, and the person may recover completely.

How to check if you have a broken heart syndrome?

Just like any disease, you need to undergo a series of laboratory tests. You have to:

  • Cardiac blood tests like FBS (Fasting Blood Sugar), Lipid profile, Urinalysis, Creatinine, and more. These tests require you to fast for 8-10 hours. Please DO NOT self-test without your doctor’s request. Visit your doctor first.
  • EKG or ECG
  • 2D Echo

Once the results are in, book an appointment with your Cardiologist to check it thoroughly.

God forbid, you somehow feel these symptoms, please go to the nearest Emergency Room (ER) for help.

If you find this helpful, share this article with your friends and loved ones. Tell your thoughts in the comments!

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