SAN ANTONIO -

Love may be sweet, but it can hurt, too, and those who suffer from a sudden disappointment in their relationships can develop a very real heart condition called “Broken heart syndrome.”

Researchers in Japan came up with the syndrome in 1991, then doctors later in the United States came to the same conclusion about the symptoms.

Sufferers complain of chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, and arm pain, much like a genuine heart attack.

The difference is that it’s not the result of blocked arteries, but rather disappointment.

Dr. Steven Bailey, chief of medicine and radiology at University Hospital, said it’s the result of a surge of stress hormones and the chemicals that cause a “fight or flight” response.

"When you get startled, you get that response that says, 'We want to get busy and I need to do something.' And if you have a lot of that at once, it seems to affect the heart in a specific way," said Bailey.

That specific action is, in some cases, an overactive pumping of the heart that can last a few days or a longer. Bailey warns you must treat it as though you truly are having a heart problem.

"You need to be seen (by a doctor)," he said. "This is a serious event. The good news is that opposed to a heart attack due to blocked arteries, where you damage the heart muscle and it never recovers, this particular problem frequently recovers over the course of a few days or a few weeks."

Time may heal the disappointment -- and the heart condition.

It can be triggered by a death of a loved one, a divorce, a breakup or even the loss of a job.

Doctors do say that overthinking your symptoms could be fatal, because in some cases, the heart can temporarily enlarge and not pump well, which could be a stress-induced cardiomyopathy.

Patients may require medication to recover, and some older patients may suffer permanent damage.

In any event, chest pain, arm pain, dizziness, and shortness of breath are all symptoms of a heart problem that require immediate medical attention.

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