GETTING dumped really can break your heart, according to research.
Overwhelming stress, such as rejection or grief, triggers neurons in the brain which regulate the heart and can lead to it failing.
The rare condition, known as “broken heart syndrome”, affects around 2,500 Britons a year, mostly women. It may even occur after a good shock — such as winning the lottery. Researchers analysed brain scans of 104 US patients having cancer tests.
Some 41 were diagnosed with the syndrome between six months and five years later.
They had higher stress-related activity in the amygdala, the part of the brain that controls your emotions. Heart muscles were weakened, causing the left ventricle — one of four heart chambers — to balloon.
Sufferers can get chest pains and become breathless.
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It can lead to heart attacks, sometimes fatal. Women are most prone, with only ten per cent of cases occurring in men. Stress-lowering drugs or meditation can help.
Dr Ahmed Tawakol, of Harvard Medical School in Boston, believes warning signs can be spotted.
He said: “The increased stress-associated neurobiological activity in the amygdala may play an important role in its development and predict the timing of the syndrome.”
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