By Dr. Willie Ong (Internist and Cardiologist)

Having a breakup is one of the sadness and hardest times in your life. After falling in love, you now have to deal with living without the person.

I have some tips on how to survive a broken heart. Normally it takes three months to six months to recover from a breakup.

There are many physical symptoms associated with a break up. You may have difficulty falling asleep or you could be sleeping a lot. Some people lose their appetite and lose weight. However, some people tend to overeat and they gain a lot of weight.

You may have difficulty of breathing, palpitations, stomach pains, and even chest pains. If the chest pain is just for a few seconds, then you can ignore it. However if the chest pains is between one minute to 5 minutes long, then you may need to consult a doctor.

There is such a thing as broken heart syndrome, wherein the person develops heart failure because of the stress of the break up.

To recover faster, try these tips:

  1. Keep yourself busy. Continue doing your work and projects. 
  2. Do not spend too much time alone. This will bring the old memories back. Try to avoid doing the things you used to do. Remove the things, physically or in the internet, that reminds you of the person.
  3. Don’t listen to love songs, watch sad movies, or go to places that remind you of the person. Do new things.
  4. Do not use alcohol, smoking, or drugs to cover up your feelings. This will only make matters worse. 
  5. Seek help from friends and family. Force yourself to get out of the house even when you don’t feel like it.
  6. Exercise and stay in shape. Feel good about yourself.
  7. Pamper yourself. Enjoy the things you can do now that you are single.
  8. If you feel really sad, seek professional help. There’s no harm and it can help you too.

I know surviving a breakup may seem hard, but people have gone through this at some point in their lives. One day you’re going to tell yourself, “I’m happy this happened to me. Because of this, I have become wiser, stronger, and a better person.” 

There is a purpose for each of these episodes in our life. This is also the best time to become spiritual and pray. Take care always and stay well. 

What Is “Broken Heart Syndrome”?

Can someone really die of a broken heart? Apparently, yes. In the largest review of “Broken Heart Syndrome” by the Mayo Clinic, researchers studied 100 patients with this condition. What is surprising is that most of the patients were women in the menopausal or post-menopausal stages.

Usually when these patients come to the Emergency Room, there is a history of a “broken heart.” A loved one died, a family member got sick, going through a divorce, or excessive physical and emotional stress. Whereas before, doctors would downplay the importance of such factors, now they find that these women have symptoms similar to a heart attack: chest pain and difficulty of breathing.

The first case report of this unusual disease came from Japan in 1991. Japanese doctors called this Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy, because the heart expands and resembles a Japanese octopus trap.

Upon investigation, women with this disease had normal arteries of the heart (no blockage by angiogram), but their “apical” or front heart muscle expands and loses strength. Too much stress and too much adrenaline secreted by the body are thought to give rise to this weakening of the heart muscle.

Medical treatment is similar to the drugs given for a heart attack. The good news is that majority of the women’s heart return to normal after 2 months. Recovery is better. The Mayo Clinic study, however, cautions that 10% can have a recurrence, should their hearts be broken again, so to speak.

Because of these heart findings, doctors are labeling this as Stress Cardiomyopathy and Apical Ballooning Syndrome (because the heart muscle balloons). But whatever label we use, the cause is obvious: she got sick from a broken heart. So guys, please be faithful. Stop giving your partners a broken heart.

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