In this video, Suzanne Steinbaum, DO, author of Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum’s Heart Book: Every Woman’s Guide to a Heart Healthy Life and Bottom Line’s “At the Heart of It All” blog, discusses broken-heart syndrome, when significant stress leads to a sudden release of hormones that, in turn, leave the heart stunned and unable to pump properly. It is important to note that not only grief can lead to this sudden dysfunction of the heart—happiness and duress can cause broken-heart syndrome as well. The physical symptoms are identical to those of a real heart attack, as are results of blood and EKG tests. However, patients with broken-heart syndrome have no blockages in their arteries…their hearts are instead ballooned out and not moving. Postmenopausal women are at greatest risk for this uncommon condition. The good news is that broken-heart syndrome usually resolves within two months, and most patients recover with no long-term heart damage. If you experience any heart-health symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath, be sure to go to your closest emergency room immediately.
Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum is a cardiologist, author and spokesperson for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Campaign. She has devoted her career to treating heart disease through early detection, education and prevention. For more great tips from Dr. Steinbaum, check out her other videos and Bottom Line blog, At The Heart Of It All.