Romance Writers – The Broken Heart Syndrome Does Exist!

Just in case you’re writing romance, this information might be of use for you.

Lately, I have been musing about a ‘Broken Heart’. Is this ‘illness’ mainly existing in highly romantic women’s brains, or is there, in fact, something real about it?

When we suffer from a broken heart, we at least think, we are feeling physical pain (at least some of us do, sometimes).

Curiosity sent me doing some research and that’s what I found.

The Mayo Clinic writes on its website:

Broken heart syndrome is a temporary heart condition that’s often brought on by stressful situations and extreme emotions. The condition can also be triggered by a serious physical illness or surgery. It may also be called stress cardiomyopathy, takotsubo cardiomyopathy or apical ballooning syndrome.

People with broken heart syndrome may have sudden chest pain or think they’re having a heart attack. Broken heart syndrome affects just part of the heart, temporarily disrupting your heart’s normal pumping function. The rest of the heart continues to function normally or may even have more forceful contractions.

The symptoms of broken heart syndrome are treatable, and the condition usually reverses itself in days or weeks.

The article is quite long, treatment is described and symptoms and prevention recommendations are delivered. The full article can be read HERE.


The medical expression I highlighted above, takotsubo cardiomyopathy  is also mentioned on the website of the ‘Queensland Health Government’, Australia. There the paragraph says:

A medically broken heart

Ever wondered if emotional heartbreak can actually, physically break your heart?

Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy is the medical name for a syndrome that can be caused by heartbreak, or more accurately, the stress of a heartbreaking situation.

Acute emotional stress, positive or negative, can cause the left ventricle of the heart to be ‘stunned’ or paralysed, causing heart attack-like symptoms including strong chest, arm or shoulder pains, shortness of breath, dizziness, loss of consciousness, nausea and vomiting.

The good news: the condition doesn’t usually cause permanent damage like a heart attack does, and often resolves itself. The bad news: it can be stressful and painful, with people often thinking they’re having an actual heart attack.

Because it’s not possible to tell without tests what’s causing your symptoms, if you ever experience the symptoms of heart attack you should call Triple Zero (000) for an ambulance.

The entire information can be found HERE


The ‘Broken Heart Syndrome’ can even be found on the ‘’ website! To my surprise, I found a quite empathic and emotional entry paragraph about the subject. The website says:

When Your Heart Breaks … (Literally).

You can die of a broken heart — it’s scientific fact — and my heart has been breaking since that very first day we met. I can feel it now, aching deep behind my rib cage the way it does every time we’re together, beating a desperate rhythm: Love me. Love me. Love me.”  Abby McDonald, Getting Over Garrett Delaney

When you think of a broken heart, you may picture a cartoon drawing with a jagged line through it. But a real-life broken heart can actually lead to cardiac consequences. There are established ties between depression, mental health and heart disease. Read on for more information about how an extremely stressful event can have an impact on your heart.

It then continues in a more clinical way:

Breakdown of a Broken Heart

Broken heart syndrome, also called stress-induced cardiomyopathy or takotsubo cardiomyopathy, can strike even if you’re healthy. (Tako tsubo, by the way, are octopus traps that resemble the pot-like shape of the stricken heart.)

Women are more likely than men to experience the sudden, intense chest pain — the reaction to a surge of stress hormones — that can be caused by an emotionally stressful event. It could be the death of a loved one or even a divorce, breakup or physical separation, betrayal or romantic rejection. It could even happen after a good shock (like winning the lottery.)

Broken heart syndrome may be misdiagnosed as a heart attack because the symptoms and test results are similar. In fact, tests show dramatic changes in rhythm and blood substances that are typical of a heart attack. But unlike a heart attack, there’s no evidence of blocked heart arteries in broken heart syndrome.

In broken heart syndrome, a part of your heart temporarily enlarges and doesn’t pump well, while the rest of your heart functions normally or with even more forceful contractions. Researchers are just starting to learn the causes, and how to diagnose and treat it.

The bad news: Broken heart syndrome can lead to severe, short-term heart muscle failure.

The good news: Broken heart syndrome is usually treatable. Most people who experience it make a full recovery within weeks, and they’re at low risk for it happening again (although in rare cases it can be fatal).

The page also shows symptoms and treatment and can be found HERE.


We learned that a broken heart not necessarily always is crying in your pillow, eating lots of ice cream (or drinking a bottle of alcohol after the next), sleeping bad and drowning in longing for months… it can also affect our heart in a medical way. Of course, this isn’t the case with every single broken heart. Some of us have gone through many of those… and survived. Yes, we feel bad, yes, it hurts (physically – and mentally)… but with support and help from friends and family, we will get over it. Eventually.

Of course, we can also decide to completely remove any connection, bond, love, or relationship from our heart, out of fear we could get hurt again. What a life that would be… disappointment and pain go hand in hand with love. How calm would a life without love be, how peaceful – and how boring…