Surprises can be a good thing or bad thing. Regardless of the intent, a surprise or shock can be fatal to one's health. Whether it is the death of a loved one or the excitement of wining the lotto, a shocking revelation can lead to heart problems.

German scientists discovered how a sudden discovery or traumatic experience can pose a danger to your health. It is believed that startling news or an event can cause the body to produce excessive amounts of stress hormones including adrenaline, which can in turn narrow the main arteries that supply blood to the heart. Once the arteries are narrowed, your heart's main pumping chamber becomes paralyzed causing a change in the rhythm akin to a heart attack.

Following these changes, you may experience difficulty breathing and sharp pains in your chest that can cause you to feel weak.

According to Dr. Christoph Nienaber, Director of Cardiology at the University Clinic of Rostock, individuals may suffer an emotional overload, which can be positive or negative. This overload can literally cause their heart to break. This can occur within minutes of hearing the news or hours later.

Women who have just experienced menopause are at risk for heart problems due to startling news.

Nienaber theorizes the female body reacts especially strong to stress hormones following menopause.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the five major symptoms of a heart attack are:

  • Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back.
  • Feeling weak, light-headed, or faint.
  • Chest pain or discomfort.
  • Pain or discomfort in arms or shoulder.
  • Shortness of breath.

According to the American Heart Association, about 785,000 Americans have an initial heart attack and another 470,000 have a recurrent heart attack each year.

If you experience any of these symptoms you should immediately seek care.