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One theory is that hormones play a role. Another is that men have more adrenaline receptors on cells in their hearts than women do, "so maybe men are able to handle stress better" and the chemical surge it releases, Deshmukh said.
Bizon was 57 when her attack occurred; she's now 63. She and her husband are pharmacists and live in Scarborough, Maine.
"I remember grabbing the counter and a black curtain coming down before my eyes," she said in a telephone interview. Her attack was so severe that she went into full cardiac arrest and had to have her heart shocked back into a normal rhythm. Although most such attacks resolve without permanent damage, she later needed to have a defibrillator implanted.
About 1 percent of such cases prove fatal, the new study shows.
"In the old days, we'd say someone was scared to death," said Prasad.
About 10 percent of victims will have a second episode sometime in their lives. And although heart attacks happen more in winter, broken heart syndrome is more common in summer.
Heart Association: http://www.americanheart.org/
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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