Ever heard of dying out of a heart break? It does sound like a myth, right? However, it is not one anymore, and this is researched, studied, and proved by a physical therapy professor at the Northeastern University.
This phenomenon was named ‘stress cardiomyopathy’ by the medical community. In this condition, there is not much damage like what happens in an actual cardiac arrest and the patient usually recovers with no long term cardiac damage. This ‘broken heart syndrome’ is primarily found in elderly women who are affected by the death of a loved one or involvement in a car crash.
Larry Cahalin, a clinical professor observes that the syndrome can also occur in young women. She observed this syndrome twice in a woman participating in the ultra-marathon cycling event. These exercises have an effect on the pulmonary functions.
When he followed a dozen cyclists, he observed symptoms like swelling in the leg and shortness of breath in a female cyclist. He asked her to go to the hospital, where she took multiple medical tests and was recommended drugs to drain the excess fluid from her lungs. When she again ran the race after a year, there was similar a heart failure but a milder one.
According to researchers, the broken heart syndrome occurs when there is an increased generation of adrenaline due to life stressors, like grief, anger or surprise. There are an increased number of physical therapists who have received many patients who may have the ‘broken heart syndrome’ which inculcated and accelerated attention from researchers and physicians.
Cahalin says, about the syndrome which cannot be completely understood, that, “It mimics a heart attack in which the heart becomes unable to pump blood to the brain and the rest of the body, with the possibility of life-threatening heart rhythm abnormalities.”