This article was last updated on December 29, 2016\nCan you really be so sad, upset, or angry that you have a broken heart? Believe it or not, there are times when your emotions might cause a serious heart problem called broken heart syndrome. This condition is real, and even though it’s temporary, it requires immediate medical attention.\nWhat Is Broken Heart Syndrome?\nWhen you’re under stress, your body releases hormones into your bloodstream to help you cope. While broken heart syndrome is a fairly new condition, doctors believe that it happens when your heart is overwhelmed by a burst of hormones after an experience that makes you very sad, angry, scared, or is a big surprise \u2013 like the death of a loved one, a natural disaster, or a car accident.\n\nWhat Are the Symptoms of Broken Heart Syndrome?\nIn broken heart syndrome, the heart stops pumping normally, causing it to become weak and making the lower left chamber, the left ventricle, swell.\nSymptoms can begin minutes or hours after the stressful experience. The most common symptoms include:\n\nChest pain\nShortness of breath\n\nOther symptoms can include fainting, a fast or irregular heartbeat, shock, low blood pressure, and heart failure.\nBecause the symptoms are so much alike, many people with broken heart syndrome think they’re having a heart attack. If you think you or someone else is having a heart attack or experiencing broken heart syndrome, call 9-1-1 right away.\nWho Is at Risk for Broken Heart Syndrome?\nPeople with broken heart syndrome often had no signs of heart problems and were generally healthy before they developed this condition. It is more common in people who are Asian or white. Women older than 55 are more likely to develop it than men.\nHow Is Broken Heart Syndrome Treated?\nThe first goal of treatment is to get the heart back to normal function. Your doctor will decide how to make this happen based on your needs. This can include medicines that:\n\nRelieve the buildup of fluid that can happen when your heart isn’t working the right way\nTreat blood pressure or blood clots\nManage stress hormones\n\nMost people with broken heart syndrome recover fully and don’t need to take medicines once they are back to normal.\nVisit UPMC’s Heart and Vascular Institute online or call 1-855-UPMC-HVI (1-855-876-2484) for more information.