Beware Of Broken Heart Syndrome That Is Frequently Misdiagnosed As A Heart Attack

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Woman suffers actual broken heart after her dog’s death, doctors confirm

That feeling of all-encompassing sadness and pain when you lose someone close to you isn’t just emotionally difficult — it is a recognized medical condition.

Recently, the New England Journal of Medicine published the case of a 61-year-old woman who was rushed to the emergency room with severe chest pains, following the death of her dog. After conducting medical tests, the doctors determined that she did not have a heart attack, but rather takotsubo cardiomyopathy, more commonly known as “broken heart syndrome.”

The woman, Joanie Simpson, recently spoke to the Washington Post about her health scare, saying that she was “close to inconsolable” after the death of her 9-year-old Yorkshire terrier, Meha.

According to the American Heart Association, broken heart syndrome is frequently misdiagnosed as a heart attack, but unlike a heart attack, does not involve blocked arteries. This was the case with Simpson.

What does happen is that a part of your heart temporarily enlarges and isn’t able to pump properly, while the rest of your heart either functions normally or with even more forceful contractions. Although broken heart syndrome is typically treatable, it can result in severe short-term heart muscle failure.

Broken heart syndrome also overwhelming affects women, with 90 percent of reported cases being in women between 58 to 75 years of age according to Harvard Women’s Health Watch.

A 2014 study out of the University of St. George’s in London also found that you can suffer from an actual broken heart following events of great loss or sadness. In fact, they found that the chances of having a stroke or heart attack double in the 30-day period after the death of a partner or loved one.

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