Can You Die of a Broken Heart?


Death and love sometimes have a closer connection than you might think. It has been said that people can suffer – and even die – from a broken heart.

Broken Heart Syndrome

It was Japanese doctors who first discovered broken heart syndrome back in the 90s. By examining heart attack patients, they found that five of the ones surveyed didn’t have any blocked arteries as the cause of their attacks. They also recovered quicker than the ones surveyed who had blockages as the cause of their heart attacks. The doctors found that these five patients’ hearts had experienced a ballooning of their left ventricles which put excess pressure on the heart, resembling heart-attack symptoms. Extreme grief, anxiety and stress is said to cause this problem.

Emotional Toll on the Heart

After losing a loved one, one’s heart attack risk is said to increase by 21 times within the first day of grief, and it’s six times higher than normal within the first week of grieving. When you are under stress, your brain sends signals to your adrenal glands in the kidneys to secrete hormones that rush to the heart, paralysing it. The heart is temporarily stunned but it is possible for it to recover with no permanent damage. Dealing with a broken heart can lead to many other pressures on the body, causing various ailments. For instance, stress can lead to your hair follicles falling out, or your stress hormones can cause your blood pressure levels to rise. Your nervous system could also signal your stomach to slow down, removing your appetite.

Unchain Your Heart

If you’re dealing with rejection or the stress of a bad break-up, you can do things to maintain the health of your heart. Managing stress is important, so do activities that make you feel relaxed and take your mind off your hurt, open up about your feelings to loved ones, try to stay active and eat a healthy, balanced diet.

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