Cheng told the American Heart Association that more research is needed to understand the risks and reasons why broken heart syndrome seems to disproportionately affect middle-age to older women.
The end of menopause might play a role, she said, but so might an uptick in overall stress.
“As we advance in age and take on more life and work responsibilities, we experience higher stress levels,” she said. “And with increasing digitization around every aspect of our lives, environmental stressors have also intensified.”
Although the Cedars-Sinai team researched cases from before the pandemic, Cheng said pandemic stress has likely caused an increase in the number of recent cases of broken heart syndrome, many of them undiagnosed.
“We know there have been profound effects on the heart-brain connection during the pandemic. We are at the tip of the iceberg in terms of measuring what those are,” she told AHA.
You can read the full study in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
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