Falling in love is one of the best feelings in the world, but having your heart broken is one of the worst. But can you die of a broken heart?
Falling in love is one of the best feelings in the world.
But having your heart broken is one of the worst.
So how exactly can something as good as falling in love
lead to DEATH?
It’s because of a disease called Broken Heart Syndrome.
Broken Heart Syndrome affects at least 3,000 people a year in the UK.
Doctors first discovered it in Japan in 1990.
Some of their patients looked like they’d had a heart attack,
but they were missing the blood clots you get
with an actual heart attack.
Instead, they’d often develop symptoms
after a big emotional stress, like someone dying or a divorce.
So what actually happens to your heart during a relationship?
There are three stages of love –
Lust, attraction, and attachment.
At each stage, a different group of powerful hormones
gets to work on your body and your heart.
At the beginning of your relationship,
you’re full of the neurotransmitters oestrogen and testosterone.
Together they power up your libido and draw you to your partner.
Next, your body releases dopamine and norepinephrine –
a form of adrenaline taking you from lust to attraction.
This adrenaline rush makes your heart race,
while the dopamine activates the reward centre in your brain,
leaving you giddy and excited.
You’re amazing. No…YOU’RE the best.
I’m the best. Yeah.
Fun fact – dopamine triggers the same area of the brain as cocaine.
Lastly, you enter a stage of long-term planning and commitment
together, with the help of oxytocin and vasopressin.
Oxytocin, the cuddle hormone,
triggers a chain of reactions that slows your heart rate.
PROLONGED FLATULENCE Released during orgasm, it’s thought
to bring couples closer together.
Meanwhile, vasopressin is thought to prevent wandering eyes,
like it does in prairie voles.
But what happens when the good stuff ends?
When the one you love leaves,
the supply of feel-good hormones plunges.
And, instead, your body floods with the stress hormones
like cortisol and adrenaline.
Scientists think it could be this surge of stress hormones
that temporarily damages your heart,
possibly by making its arteries too narrow.
That’s why you can get Broken Heart Syndrome
from a wide variety of stressful experiences – good and bad.
In fact, about 1 in 25 incidences of Broken Heart Syndrome
are caused by happy stress, like winning the lottery.
When you have Broken Heart Syndrome, your heart changes rhythm
and your blood contains proteins it shouldn’t,
exactly like with an actual heart attack.
But, unlike an actual heart attack,
there’s no sign of your arteries being blocked.
Instead, the left ventricle – one of the four chambers in the heart –
temporarily weakens and enlarges.
This means that the heart doesn’t pump blood to the rest of the body
as well as it should.
The scientific name for Broken Heart Syndrome is…
It’s called this because the heart warps into the shape of a takotsubo,
a Japanese fishing pot specially designed to catch octopuses.
Once you have Broken Heart Syndrome,
the arteries which feed oxygen to your heart muscle can spasm,
momentarily freezing your heart
and resulting in short-term heart failure.
And even if you recover after your first diagnosis,
researchers at the University of Aberdeen
found that Broken Heart Syndrome reduces your heart’s elasticity,
so you’re more likely to develop deadly heart failure in the future.
So what can you do to avoid Broken Heart Syndrome?
Is it time to give up on love forever?
There’s no cure for the damage caused by Broken Heart Syndrome.
But if it’s treated properly, most people recover in under a month.
If you look after your heart, you can keep it stronger for longer.
They could be through stopping smoking, staying in shape,
or finding a healthy way to manage stress.
Meanwhile, the University of Aberdeen team are exploring ways
to help people through physical activity
or psychological interventions. CHEERING
So there you have it.
Dying of a broken heart – it’s real.
What’s your take? Comment below or write a response and submit to us your own point of view or reaction here at the red box, below, which links to our submissions portal.
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