Broken heart syndrome (BHS) which is also known as stress cardiomyopathy is not only real but it’s also potentially deadly. BHS mimics symptoms of an acute heart attack, including chest pain, shortness of breath, a sense of impending doom, and heart failure. According to a study in The New England Journal of Medicine, overwhelming stress can cause the body to release large amounts of stress hormones (such as adrenaline and norepinephrine) into the bloodstream, which can damage the heart muscle.

BHS is most common among postmenopausal women who experience the death of a partner or loved one, yet a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the disorder also occurs in younger women and men. Physical stressors including surgery, respiratory conditions like COPD and asthma, and medications like chemotherapy have also been known to trigger BHS.

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