Grief, fear, conflict, or other negative emotions can lead to an unusual type of heart attack, known as broken heart syndrome. A new study confirms that positive emotions can also trigger the problem — and this "happy heart syndrome" may be more prevalent among men.
The study relied on data from a registry of 2,482 people with broken heart syndrome, formally called stress cardiomyopathy. Physical stressors, including medical conditions or procedures, can also cause the problem, which causes temporary changes in the heart's shape and is more common among women.
But in rare cases, stress cardiomyopathy occurs with joyful events — a birthday party, a wedding, or the birth of a grandchild, for example — and most of these cases were in men, the researchers found. Though more research is needed in more patients, short- and long-term outcomes appeared similar regardless of whether people had broken or happy heart syndrome. The report appeared the May 2022 issue of JACC: Heart Failure.
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