Why Broken-heart syndrome is on the rise

Doctors are seeing more cases of Broken-Heart Syndrome amid the pandemic. Our ABC10 health expert explains what it is and why it’s on the rise.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — With millions of deaths due to the coronavirus pandemic, a large amount of our population has lost loved ones. This is causing broken-heart syndrome cases to go up. 

ABC10 Health Expert Dr. Payal Kohli said broken-heart syndrome is something medical professionals have dealt with for many decades. It comes on from psychological or emotional stress, resulting in your heart literally breaking, causing the bottom of it to become weak and not pump as it should. 

This is something that could put you in intensive care or lead to death. The good news, Kohli says most people do make a full recovery. 

“What’s been interesting is in the last year, we’ve really seen a rise in broken-heart syndrome during the pandemic, and we don’t know if it’s the chicken or the egg,” Kohli said. “So, we don’t know if it’s the psychological stresses of the pandemic that are causing this or the fact that the virus actually has receptors on the heart muscle that can also increase.”

Dr. Kohli said its becoming a phenomena that “we’re grappling with and we’re probably going to continue to grapple with, because even things like financial losses, death of a family member, all of those can trigger broken-heart syndrome.”

When it comes to Broken-heart Syndrome here’s what you should look out for: 

  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Shortness of breath, feeling lightheaded or dizzy. 
  • Fainting

Kohli said it doesn’t sneak up on you. It’s something that comes on very dramatically. If you have symptoms, you should go to the emergency room. 

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