When your chest hurts after getting dumped, it’s not just a figment of your imagination. You could be suffering from broken heart syndrome.
Yes, having your heart broken in pieces can literally cause you pain. According to the Mayo Clinic, broken heart syndrome is a condition “that’s often brought on by stressful situations.” These include a death of a loved one and the end of a relationship.
“There are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and recovery. The first four stages is where this syndrome could happen,” explains Raul Lapitan, MD, a cardiology consultant at Makati Medical Center and vice president of the Philippine Heart Association. “That’s when chest pains can occur and it’s post-traumatic.”
There are varying causes of chest tightness and heaviness when you’ve had your heart broken. In milder cases, due to stress brought by depression, the brain could send signals to your chest muscles to tighten up, causing you pain, Dr. Lapitan says.
According to the Mayo Clinic, in more severe cases, “there’s a temporary disruption of your heart’s normal pumping function while the remainder of the heart functions normally or even with more forceful contractions.”
When this occurs, you can get severe chest pains coupled with shortness of breath—much like symptoms of a heart attack. The good news: People who suffer from broken heart syndrome generally recover and get their heart function back to normal after some treatment.
But only a doctor can properly diagnose this heart problem after conducting a series of cardiac tests and looking at your health and family history. Only after ruling out more serious conditions can an MD point to broken heart syndrome, adds Dr. Lapitan.
While you can get easily consumed with your feelings, it’s best to try and not be so down about it. Depression is the trigger you need to avoid so it’s best to channel your energy to productive pursuits.
But if your hugot feels are just too much and all of a sudden your chest starts to hurt, and it lasts for more than an hour, don’t just chalk it up to being heartbroken.
“You should get yourself immediately checked especially if chest pains come with shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and palm sweats. It could be something more serious,” warns. Dr. Lapitan.
This story originally appeared on Menshealth.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.