You can die of a broken heart

In 1986, a 44-year-old woman was admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital. It looked, from the outside, like a heart attack, but it wasn’t. Earlier that day, she had been informed that her 17-year-old son had committed suicide. Could the woman have suffered from a broken heart?

In their book Zoobiquity, Kathryn Bowers and Barbara Natterson-Horowitz said the evidence that extreme emotions can impact the heart goes back decades – only not among humans. Wildlife biologists and veterinarians say that an animal caught by a predator experiences “capture myopathy,” when adrenaline floods the bloodstream it’s becomes like poison, damaging the animal’s muscles, including the heart. In the 1990s Japanese researchers coined the term “takotsubo cardiomyopathy” to describe a stress-induced apparent heart attack.  After consulting with veterinarians at the Los Angeles Zoo, Natterson-Horowitz put the heart-related aspects of capture myopathy with takotsubo cardiomyopathy side by side.

Read the full story on BBC.

Broken Heart Image from Shutterstock

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