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Why broken heart syndrome has real health implications

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Broken heart syndrome, or Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy, goes deeper than just emotional stress. The syndrome has the same symptoms as a heart attack, but instead of blocked arteries, the heart is weakened, something cardiologists say can cause serious problems if not treated.

The Alvarez family is selling balloons, hearts, and candies like these on Culver Road in Rochester for Valentine’s Day. They say they have heard of broken heart syndrome and their gifts can help those feeling down.

“You can get something for yourself, be happy, do something to make yourself feel better,” said Marisa Alvarez, owner of Just Balloons.

And while being lonely on Valentine’s Day can leave you feeling down, broken heart syndrome is a major medical condition that Dr. Uzma Iqbal, a cardiologist at Rochester Regional Health, says requires medical attention.

“Left ventricle which is the main pumping chamber of the heart and when it happens there is weakness of the left ventricle as a result of extreme emotional stress or physical stress that a person experiences,” said Dr. Uzma Iqbal, a cardiologist at Rochester Regional Health.

Some symptoms include shortness of breath or chest pain, the same as a heart attack, and without treatment, it can cause serious problems.

“It can cause the same kind of problems that a heart attack can due to reduced functioning of the heart. You can have symptoms suggestive of heart failure and fluid build-up. So you’ll still have to be treated,” Dr. Iqbal.

So, how do you prevent it?

“Meditation always helps, yoga always helps and I always say whatever makes you happy helps,” Dr. Iqbal.

Between 2007 and 2012, cases of broken heart syndrome increased over 3-fold, according to a report in the National Library of Medicine.

Once diagnosed with broken heart syndrome, treatment could be anything from aspirin medication, to long-term beta-blockers that block stress hormones on the heart.

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