WebMD explains a condition called broken heart syndrome or stress cardiomyopathy. It results from the body’s response to severe stress or trauma. The condition resembles a heart attack so closely it is hard for anyone to tell the difference, but it can equally endanger life.
The American Heart Association describes how the body suddenly reacts by releasing chemicals that stun the heart. Responding to the unexpected death of a loved one, an automobile accident, a severe asthma attack, or other overwhelming experience can cause this suddenly crippled heart function. It occurs in post-menopausal women more often than others. I am one of those women, so I am grateful to know about it. For me, knowledge empowers, especially in this case.
It was good to read Johns Hopkins Medicine answers to frequently-asked-questions about broken heart syndrome. I learned that the heart recovers quickly without the long-term damage a heart attack can cause.
I have also heard that a broken heart can cause a grieving person to give up living. I don’t know about that, but a few years ago, a friend was devastated by her husband’s unexpectedly death from a heart attack. She grieved for several months and died suddenly from heart disease exactly 90 days after he died. When asked whether she died of a broken heart, her family explained they didn’t know if she died of a broken heart, but they knew she died with a broken heart.
What do you know about what a broken heart can do?