Die of a Broken Heart?
According to Nicholas Bakaler’s new book The Medicine Cabinet of Curiosities: An Unconventional Compendium of Health Facts and Oddities from Asthmatic Mice to Plants That Can Kill, death from a broken heart is real:
“Acute stress can cause heart failure, and a failed romance may be stressful enough to do it. So that’s dying of a broken heart, kind of. But sometimes people under stress already have heart disease, so whether the stress caused the fatal heart failure is unclear. Yet there is a syndrome called acute stress cardiomyopathy, which looks a lot like a heart attack but isn’t one and is caused by stressful events. Its victims are usually people without evidence of cardiac disease who come into the hospital after acute emotional or physical trauma. The most common emotional triggers are grief (the death of a loved one, for example) or fear (being robbed at gunpoint or being involved in a car accident).”