Facebook Pixel

New Study Says Women More Likely to Suffer a Broken Heart

By HERWriter Blogger
Rate This
Heart Disease related image Photo: Getty Images

When a relationship ends, it is almost cliché to hear one party or the other (usually the one who got dumped) say that they are suffering from a broken heart. That feeling may now be much more than just a saying and women may experience from it more than men.

The Associated Press reported on November 16, 2011 about the new study presented on the same day at Scientific Settings, the American Heart Association's national conference in Florida.

The study found women are 7 to 9 times more likely to have “broken heart syndrome” when they experience a sudden or prolonged stress like an untimely breakup or death. These stresses can cause overwhelming heart failure or symptoms that mirror a heart attack.

Remarkably, patients usually recover with no lasting damage. However, in about 1 percent of cases this syndrome proves fatal. Though more heart attacks happen in winter, the study found most occurrences of this syndrome occurred in summer. About10 percent of people will have a second attack at some point in their life, as well.

Broken heart syndrome can occur with any big emotional shock, even a happy one like winning the lottery. The shock can trigger a surge of adrenaline and other stress hormones that basically cause the person’s heart to expand suddenly.

The dramatic changes in rhythm and blood substances in the person with this syndrome look like a heart attack except there are no artery blockages, which is what typically causes a “real” heart attack.

The University of Arkansas’s Dr. Abhishek Deshmukh had treated some of these cases and wondered why so many of them were women. So, he conducted the first large scale study of broken heart syndrome.

Dr. Deshmukh used a federal database with about 1,000 hospitals and found that only 671 of the 6,229 cases in 2007 involved men. After he adjusted for lifestyle factors including high blood pressure, smoking and other factors that could cause heart problems, he found women 7.5 times more likely than men to suffer the syndrome.

Add a CommentComments

There are no comments yet. Be the first one and get the conversation started!

Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Heart Disease

Get Email Updates

Heart Disease Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!