Is it true you can die from a broken heart? Maybe! New research reveals heartache is more damaging than you think. In fact, severe emotional stress, like a breakup, has the same effect on your physical health as a heart attack.

It’s A Real Syndrome

The term “Takotsubo cardiomyopathy” might not mean much to you, but “broken heart syndrome” might ring a bell. Does your chest tighten with anxiety or pain after an unexpected loss or breakup? That’s the heartache weakening your heart muscle, eventually to the point where it won’t work properly, similar to what happens during a heart attack.

Some of these effects could be permanent, which means you could actually die from a broken heart.

“A Devastating Disease”

To test their theories, scientists examined 37 patients for two years using ultrasound and MRI scans. The patients who recently experienced severe heartache had “untreatable damage to the heart’s muscle tissue.”

“Takotsubo is a devastating disease that can suddenly strike down otherwise healthy people,” said Professor Jeremy Pearson, an associate researcher on the study. “We once thought the effects of this life-threatening disease were temporary, but now we can see they can continue to affect people for the rest of their lives.”

So, What Happens During An Attack?

After an intense breakup, you could experience a “broken heart syndrome” attack. Part of the heart muscle weakens and balloons, damaging your heart’s ability to properly pump blood to your brain.

But, if you’re wondering if there’s a treatment plan for the disease, think again. Doctors didn’t have a clear idea about the syndrome… until now.

“This new research shows there are long-term effects on heart health and suggests we should be treating patients in a similar way to those who are at a risk of heart failure.”

The next time you experience a bad breakup, take care of yourself. Your heart is kind of important.