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Can You Die from a Broken Heart?

Updated: Feb 24, 2022

by Dr. Jen Caudle

The benefits of being in love are many- from reduced stress to improved quality of life, happiness and so much more. But what about having a broken heart? Can it be dangerous?

Having our heartbroken is sad and often devastating, but it's not likely to be harmful (thank goodness). However, a heart condition called "Broken Heart Syndrome" or Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy, might be different (and yes, this is a real medical condition).

"Broken heart syndrome" is a heart condition usually brought on by an intensely stressful event. The event could be the loss of a loved one, a divorce or break-up, or even a happy event that is very stressful.

During broken heart syndrome, a portion of the heart enlarges and stops pumping while other parts of the heart continue to pump ( The symptoms are similar to those of a heart attack- chest pain, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeats, and possibly shock (this is when the heart doesn't pump enough blood to supply the body).

Those most commonly affected are women in their 50's and while the heart damage can be severe, it's usually treatable and many people have a good recovery within days to weeks.

So, while having a broken heart and having broken heart syndrome are both painful, the good news is that you are likely to recover from both.

Stay Healthy,

Dr. Jen

Dr. Jen Caudle is a Family Doctor & Associate Professor at Rowan University, On-air health expert, and a video creator. Please sign up for her free newsletter and follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube for daily health videos.

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