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Broken Heart Syndrome

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Who says a broken heart won't kill you? Cardiologist Ilan Wittstein, MD, an assistant professor at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and its Heart Institute, that's who

Who says a broken heart won't kill you? Cardiologist Ilan Wittstein, MD, an assistant professor at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and its Heart Institute, that's who.

Dr. Wittstein and his research team discovered that sudden emotional stress can result in severe heart muscle weakness. Patients with stress cardiomyopathy, also known as "broken heart syndrome" suffer a sustained surge in stress hormones that temporarily stun the heart.

The good news is, the condition is reversible. The emotionally stressed patients showed dramatic improvement within a few days and complete recovery within two weeks. In contrast, it can take months to recover from an actual heart attack, and the heart muscle may be permanently damaged.

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