It has long been claimed that people have died from a broken heart.
Similar to a stroke or a massive coronary, broken heart syndrome causes the body to pour out adrenaline and other stress hormones.
This narrows the coronary arteries and impairs blood circulation. It also stuns the bottom half of the main pumping chamber of the heart, forcing the top portion to work much harder to compensate.
The lack of oxygenated blood reaching the rest of the body — and indeed the heart — causes breathlessness, pain and a loss of consciousness.
The patient can die as a result of cardiac arrest, causing the brain and body to be starved of oxygen.
Victims struggle to breathe, feel weak and have pains in the chest which are typical heart attack symptoms.
Now German researchers say they have identified how emotional trauma can trigger a potentially lethal catastrophe in the body they call the 'broken heart syndrome.'
Doctors have long known the stress of a bereavement can trigger heart problems studies have shown the risk of heart attack rises ten-fold in the 48 hours following the death of a loved one.
It’s previously been assumed that the patient already has an unhealthy heart as a result of bad diet or clogged arteries.But scientists now say that a bereavement can trigger a specific type of heart attack very different from these ‘unhealthy’ heart attacks.