Broken hearts and physical pain

Broken hearts and physical pain
Author image
Newstalk
18:37 Tuesday 25 September 2012

Heartbreak was thought to be an emotional state but studies now show that it can physically harm you.

Scientists say that extreme fear, anxiety and even surprise can damage your heart in what they call stress cardiomyopathy or “heartbreak syndrome”.

Dr Ilan Wittstein coined the term in 2005 for its association with the death of a loved one.

But, he says, it is not always triggered by grief. The extreme stress of an event releases a surge of adrenalin which paralyses the heart. It can’t squeeze normally and blood flow is reduced.

Broken heart syndrome feels similar to a heart attack but is not caused by a blocked artery.

Instead, the heart is “stunned” and usually recovers with no permanent damage, but in sever cases, a sufferer’s heart might fail.

Almost 90% of broken-heart patients are women – most of which are over the age of 55.

Wittstein and his team set up a stress cardiomyopathy registry in 1999 to understand the disease fully.

Related stories

[Need to Know] Chocolate could help reduce heart disease

comments powered by Disqus
  • newstalk.com image

    VIDEO: Vincent Browne lets loose when a guest calls the...

    newstalk.com image

    WATCH: High Court reserves judgment in trespass proceedings against...

    newstalk.com image

    Graham Dwyer trial hears graphic contents of 'Killing...

    newstalk.com image

    UPDATE: Get a first look at Microsoft's planned €134m Dublin...

    newstalk.com image

    This cartoon offers a very Irish response to Russian bombers in...

    newstalk.com image

    VIDEO: TV presenter is not impressed by co-host's joke about...

    newstalk.com image

    #WorldBookDay: Here are some of your favourite books

    newstalk.com image

    Gardaí arrest man in connection with attempted abduction of child

    newstalk.com image

    WATCH: O'Donnells remain in home as deadline passes

    newstalk.com image

    Tánaiste accused of turning seven-year-olds into 'latchkey...

  • newstalk.com image

    Atletico can hold out real hope of keeping Simeone

    newstalk.com image

    'I think Kevin Doyle liked the idea of moving to the MLS'

    newstalk.com image

    Cork shuffle the deck, but no place for Galvin in Kerry squad

    newstalk.com image

    'Kildare can forget about Division 1 but that wouldn't be...

    newstalk.com image

    LISTEN: Off The Ball's Cheltenham 2015 preview

    newstalk.com image

    Newcastle's Cisse accepts spitting charge

    newstalk.com image

    'Scholes response to Evans-Cisse spitting incident...

    newstalk.com image

    Leinster's Te'o warned but avoids punishment

    newstalk.com image

    Cisse apologises for reacting to 'unpleasant' incident

    newstalk.com image

    Phelan on top of the world in Africa