In his talk Dr Nelson Chong provided evidence, proving that a broken heart is not just hyperbole excessively used in love songs. Explaining that a breakup, or other traumatic emotional stress, can be a trigger causing physical damage to the heart, a syndrome known as Takotsubo cardiomyopathy (or stress-induced cardiomyopathy), which can be fatal.
The condition was given the nickname ‘broken heart syndrome’ when researchers began to notice that the symptoms were often preceded by an emotional or mental stressor, such as loss of a loved one or a divorce.
Dr Chong said: "Broken heart syndrome can be fatal but in most cases it improves over time. Although it can develop at any age, it seems to mainly affect women over the age of 50. Broken heart syndrome is usually caused by a surge of stress hormones, such as adrenaline, that can be initiated by an emotionally stressful event like the death of a loved one or a divorce, break up or separation."