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Broken heart reflects on your health
March 27, 2009 10:44 IST
Giving credence to what has inspired sonneteers and songwriters galore, a new study says that a broken heart really can be bad for your health.
According to researchers, rows with a spouse and bad news about a loved one can spark a rush of stress hormones to the heart causing it to weaken or even appear "stunned", a condition, which doctors have dubbed "broken heart syndrome".
The team, led by Brown University, has based its findings on an analysis of 70 patients with the "broken heart syndrome" between 2004 and 2008.
The researchers found that two thirds had suffered extreme emotional or physical stress immediately before their symptoms appeared. These ranged from domestic disagreements, upsetting information about a family member, to physical illness or even a car accident.
All arrived at the hospital with symptoms similar to those experienced by heart attack victims, including chest pain and shortness of breath. One in five were critically ill and needed emergency treatment to keep them alive.
But doctors found that the patients did not suffer the long-term damage to the muscle linked to a real heart attack. After treatment, all of the patients, almost all women who had already gone through the menopause, made a full recovery.