When suffering emotional trauma, have you ever literally felt like your heart was seizing in your chest? Yet, no matter how convincing it might feel, your doctor would assure you that this is not a heart attack. All the usual symptoms are there—chest pain, shortness of breath, and even an irregular heartbeat—and yet you’re given a clean bill of health.
If this has happened to you, then you might be suffering from a different kind of heart ailment altogether—one that is usually an effect of hearing shocking news both good and bad. And if you’re a woman, a study shows that you’re seven times more likely to go through this so-called broken heart syndrome.
Thankfully, the ailment is not as life threatening as a real heart attack. There is only a one-percent chance that people will die from it. However, researchers from the University of Arkansas also realized that women are more prone to it than men. The good news is that broken heart syndrome usually has a short life span as most patients only suffer it for a week or two, and then they’re as good as new. Still, the researchers wanted to find out just how gender-specific the ailment was.
Using government databases from roughly 1,000 hospitals, the study authors were able to unearth 6,229 cases of broken heart syndrome in 2007. Dr. Abhishek Deshmukh, a cardiologist at the University of Arkansas who has treated women with broken heart syndrome, was able to discover that of those cases, only 11 percent were men. Women, as results revealed, were around 7.5 times more likely to suffer broken heart syndrome. Narrowing the group down to people under 55, women became 9.5 times more at risk.
While there is still no clear reason as to why women seem to suffer from this heart ailment more than men do, researchers are looking at hormones and adrenaline receptors as factors. In the meantime, don’t ignore any chest pains you might be feeling. Go see a doctor to get professional advice.
For more information on other cardiovascular ailments, check these out:
(Photo by SMercury98 via Flickr Creative Commons)