LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Valentine's Day is not the easiest if you're broken-hearted.
People often feel intense pain from the loss of love. But in some cases, a broken heart isn't just a feeling it can be an actual medical diagnosis.
“When I first read about it I was very surprised, it's one of those things you read about it and you suspect it's not true, it's people trying to make a career out of some kind of research that's good for headlines but it is a real syndrome," said Dr. Andre Paixao, a cardiologist at Arkansas Heart Hospital.
To verify, we sat down the interventional cardiologist and we checked guidelines handed down by the American Heart Association. Both verify broken heart syndrome is real. And you can, in fact, die of a broken heart.
Medically, it's called Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy. Japanese researchers who discovered it said patients who suffer a broken heart, the shape of their heart resembles a pot-like trap used to catch octopus.
Dr. Paixao helped write one of the research articles about the condition while at Georgetown.
He said the symptoms mirror that of a heart attack and it happens primarily in women. He also said it typically happens after a breakup, divorce, death of a child, or any event that causes a stress response in the body.
“Your body produces a lot of adrenaline and substances like adrenaline. Most people now believe this syndrome is caused by the direct effect of these substances on the heart muscle itself," said Dr. Paixao.
The American Heart Association said symptoms of broken heart syndrome include chest pain and shortness of breath. If it happens, doctors urge you to get to the emergency room so they can figure out if it's a heart attack, a broken heart, or something else.
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