To Die From A Broken Heart

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
broken, heart, myths, truth

Submitted: April 30, 2010

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Submitted: April 30, 2010

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Research suggests that the old operas and classic literature had it right after all: One may die from a broken heart. What happens is that a flood of stress hormones rushes into the heart which loses balance. It develops spasms which are killers as the rhytm of the heart is ruined.
No one knows for sure how often it happens, but one of the researchers, Ilan S. Wittstein of John Hopkins School of Medicine (Baltimore), suspects that it happens quite often, especially in older women. However, what seems to be an ordinary heart attack is in reality something special and one should think twice before paying a beloved grandmother a surprise visit. As it is, contrary to popular belief it isn't always love problems which cause these sudden deaths. No, also minor problems like an unexpected visit can kill. However, most often it's more grave problems like e.g. the death of a loved one or a traumatic breakup that kills this way. Not surprisingly it has been taken as a proof of the intricate link between body and soul: The one influences the other and perhaps even kills it.
In my childhood I heard of a beautiful Chinese lady who fell in love with a Danish sea captain and married him. They went to live in Denmark, but alas, within less that two years she had died from a broken heart. The Danish way of living was too much for her, she missed her family and siblings, but probably most of all the Chinese society which was structured in quite another way than up here in the cold Scandinavia.

http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/short/352/6/539

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