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Do People Die from Broken Hearts?

Recently, after former First Lady Barbara Bush passed away, her husband, Pres. George H.W. Bush, was admitted to the hospital, just one day after her funeral. Though the official statement indicated that he had a blood infection, many people wondered if he might really be suffering from “broken heart syndrome.” It’s a condition in which the stress of losing a loved one causes a person to become ill and may physically damage the heart.

Senior Care in Sayville NY: Broken Heart Syndrome

Senior Care in Sayville NY: Broken Heart Syndrome

About Broken Heart Syndrome.

A doctor may not call the condition “broken heart syndrome.” Instead, they are likely to diagnose it by one of its other names:

  • Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy.
  • Apical Ballooning Syndrome.
  • Stress Cardiomyopathy.


Whatever name it is called, according to the Mayo Clinic, broken heart syndrome is a temporary condition. It occurs when a person experiences a very stressful situation, such as the death of a spouse or close friend. The syndrome affects one part of the heart and makes it pump wrong. The rest of the heart continues to work properly or may contract harder than normal. There is treatment available and broken heart syndrome is usually resolved within a few weeks or less.

Symptoms of Broken Heart Syndrome.

Broken heart syndrome is sometimes misdiagnosed as a heart attack because the symptoms are similar. Someone with the syndrome may experience:

  • Chest pain.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Irregular heartbeat.

Doctors say that any time someone has chest pain that lasts, they should receive emergency medical treatment.


Broken Heart Syndrome vs. Heart Attack.

The main difference between broken heart syndrome and a heart attack is that a heart attack is caused by blocked arteries. There are no blockages in broken heart syndrome, though blood flow may be restricted. Some other differences can be seen only through medical tests, such as:

  • EKG results look different than they do for a heart attack.
  • Blood work doesn’t show signs of damage to the heart.
  • Testing shows differences in the way the lower left ventricle of the heart is pumping.
  • Recovery from broken heart syndrome is quicker.


A senior care provider can help watch for signs of broken heart syndrome in your aging family member. In the event there is an emergency, a senior care provider can call 911 and see to it that they get help fast. If the older adult is diagnosed with broken heart syndrome, a senior care provider can remind them to take medications prescribed by the doctor. A senior care provider can also drive them to follow up doctor appointments.

If you or an aging loved-one are considering senior care in Sayville, NY, please call the caring staff at Companion Home Care of Long Island. Senior Home Care serving Suffolk, Nassau and Queens Counties. Turn your questions into answers. Call Today (631) 884-0005




Dorothy Anderson

Dorothy serves as President and CEO of Companion Home Care of Long Island whose corporate office is located in Melville, NY. Companion Home Care is a non-medical home care agency serving the elderly and others needing assistance and supervision with daily living activities, throughout Western Suffolk, Nassau, Queens Counties, since 2004.

Dorothy’s core expertise includes an extensive background of more than 38 years, focusing on Home Care, Senior Care and operating a successful in-home care agency.

In her spare time she enjoys her 5 grandchildren, gardening, skiing and competition 8-Ball.
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