Does a woman’s heart break more easily than a man’s?
According to a recent study done by Dr. Abhishek Deshmukh at the University of Arkansas, that may be the case.
Using a federal database with about 1,000 hospitals, Deshmukh found 6,229 cases of “Broken Heart Syndrome” in 2007. Only 671 involved men.
After adjusting for high blood pressure, smoking and other factors that can affect heart problems, women seemed 7.5 times more likely to suffer the syndrome than men.
Dr. Abhishek Deshmukh presented the results this week at an American Heart Association conference in Florida.
Apparently the term Broken Heart Syndrome is a legitimate health issue recognized by the medical community, even by leading hospitals like the Mayo Clinic:
“Broken heart syndrome is a temporary heart condition brought on by stressful situations, such as the death of a loved one. People with broken heart syndrome may have sudden chest pain or think they’re having a heart attack. These broken heart syndrome symptoms may be brought on by the heart’s reaction to a surge of stress hormones.
In broken heart syndrome, a part of your heart temporarily enlarges and doesn’t pump well, while the remainder of the heart functions normally or with even more forceful contractions.”
Researchers wonder if this large gap between men and women is due to differing hormone levels or the amount of adrenaline receptors in the heart available to handle stress chemicals. No matter what the origin, it appears that women are at greater risk for a very serious medical condition related to traumatic emotional events.
Broken hearts have been the basis of twangy country tunes and sappy romantic comedies for years, but this research is yet another reminder for men and women to take care of your hearts, both physically and emotionally.