By Brooke Katz

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – With the rise of COVID-19, doctors have also seen a rise in the number of heart failure patients. One particular type may be related to the mental stress of this entire situation.

Chest pain and shortness of breath are usually the hallmarks of a heart attack, but they can also be caused by something called Broken Heart Syndrome.

“We see this commonly in patients who have been subjected to a significant amount of stress,” said Dr. Mj Sidhu, a cardiologist with Methodist Dallas Medical Center. Dr. Sidhu is studying the link between this syndrome and COVID-19.

With Broken Heart Syndrome, part of your heart temporarily enlarges affecting its ability to pump blood effectively.

“These patients can present with chest pains and EKG changes so it looks very much similar to as if the person is having a heart attack,” said Dr. Sidhu. “But when we do further testing on these patients, meaning we go ahead and look at the blood vessels of the heart, we just don’t find any blockages.”

A new study suggests cases have shot up since the pandemic began. Cleveland Clinic researchers found cases doubled in two of their hospitals in March and April of 2020. It’s an illness that can strike even the young and healthy. Women are more predisposed than men.

The good news is that Dr. Sidhu said with proper treatment it is reversible. To reduce your chances of this reaction, Dr. Sidhu suggested finding ways to manage stress on a day to day basis. He also said that you should seek help if you need it.

Doctors are still working to figure out with COVID-19 patients if the syndrome is triggered by the physical or emotional stress of being sick.

No matter what though, if you are having signs of a heart attack, you should seek emergency help.