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Advances in health and medicine.
Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
SW: Feature Report Channel
Reported February 14, 2012

2 Broken Hearts - Shattered And Dying

AVENTURA, FL. (Ivanhoe Newswire) --Split in half, shattered and torn apart. These are just a few of the ways to describe the angst of a broken heart. While it’s one thing to be single this Valentine’s Day, having your heart broken could be worse. We’ll give you new insight into the phenomenon known as "broken heart syndrome."

"Look, she holds his arm, it’s pretty neat actually," Orit Mimoun told Ivanhoe.

Memories are all Mimoun has left of her uncle Albert and aunt Rosin.

"They were one, 67 years of marriage," Mimoun explained

When Albert died at 92, it was too much for Rosin.

"She said I don't want to live I want to be with him. It's time for me to go," Mimoun added.

Heartbreak was expected, but what came next, no one saw coming.

"It kind of caught everybody by surprise when she had a heart attack," Mimoun said.

The day before her heart failed, the 87-year-old scored perfect marks at a routine check-up.

"She never made it out of the hospital," Mimoun said.

Mimoun believes Rosin died from broken heart syndrome, or stress cardiomyopathy, it happens when stress causes the heart muscles to weaken. New research shows women are nearly 10 times more likely to suffer from it. The loss of a spouse increases a person's risk of death by nearly 20 percent. On the first day of bereavement the risk can spike 14-fold.

At first, it resembles a heart attack, but heart cells are "stunned" by adrenaline, not a blocked artery. Top signs to watch out for are shortness of breath, low blood pressure, and chest pain lasting longer than five minutes.

"It’s a very real phenomenon. If you start having chest pains take it seriously," Alan Ackermann, a board certified cardiologist in Aventura Florida told Ivanhoe.

Doctors say it can happen after any shock. The biggest factor for diagnosis? Timing.

"With the broken heart syndrome the phenomenon is an immediate event following the trigger," Dr. Ackermann said.

But since Rosin died six months after her husband, for her family the cause was clear.

"We strongly believe that the heart attack was just a symptom, because she had a broken heart," Mimoun concluded. "They were inseparable and that day, they joined together."

Some researchers say broken heart syndrome is the most dangerous for post-menopausal women because lower levels of the hormone estrogen make heart cells more vulnerable to an adrenaline rush.

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