Women’s Hearts Break More Easily?
November 18, 2011 by staff
In the first national study of its kind, researchers at the University of Arkansas reviewed a federal database roughly including 1,000 US hospitals to estimate the rates of the “broken heart syndrome” among men and women.
A broken heart or heartbreak is a condition brought on by stressful situations, such as a breakup or the death of a loved one which trigger a rush of stress hormones that leads to temporary enlargement and malfunction of the main heart.
Although most victims of a broken heart syndrome recover within weeks, in rare cases it proves fatal.
Dr. Abhishek Deshmukh and colleagues at the University of Arkansas found 6,229 cases in 2007, from which only 671 were man.
After adjusting for high blood pressure, smoking and other risk factors that can affect heart conditions, results showed that women were on average 7.5 times more likely to suffer the syndrome than men.
Findings also showed that the risk increased in women with age.
Women younger than 55 years were 9.5 times more likely to experience the syndrome than their male counterparts while the condition was three times more common in women over 55.
Researchers couldn’t sharply explain why a woman’s heart is much more susceptible to emotional stress.
One theory is that hormones play a role. Another is that men have more adrenaline receptors on their hear cells than women do, “so maybe men are able to handle stress better” and the chemical surge it releases, said Deshmukh.
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