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Fargo Woman Suffers Broken Heart - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Fargo Woman Suffers Broken Heart

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Many of us may have experienced a broken heart over the years and divulged into a bowl full of chocolate ice cream to mend it.
But did you know a doctor could actually diagnose you for it?
It happened to a woman right here in Fargo. She suffered from broken heart syndrome.

Ardell Peterson's brother, Daniel, passed away just 7 months ago.

"I received a phone call," says Peterson.

Peterson, a nurse at Sanford, was at work when she heard the news.
But instead of shedding tears, her body started doing something else.

"I started coughing up bright red blood," says Peterson.

Doctors were immediately called

"I felt pressure and I could not breathe. They said, 'I was going to the cath lab' and I got really scared," says Peterson.

Ardell thought for sure she was having a heart attack. But after an E.K.G., doctors found out that's not what it was. Ardell suffered a broken heart.

"This is a broken heart," says Peterson.

Dr. Susan Farkas says people are diagnosed with broken heart syndrome more than you think.

"Every year at least 5 people here," says Dr. Farkas, a cardiologist at Sanford.

And while the chance of dying from it is slim, the symptoms and treatment match that of a heart attack.

"It's very important to treat it as a heart attack," says Dr. Farkas.

But the damage done is not as severe.

"There is no heart damage and the heart is completely normal. The muscle actually stops but it is just broken for a little bit," says Dr. Farkas.

It's been 7 months since Peterson was diagnosed.
And while she misses her brother dearly, she says she's mending her heart one day at a time.

"I'm feeling good today. It's a slow process, but I am going to be O. K.," says Peterson.

Doctors say broken heart syndrome is brought on by stressful situations.
In Ardell's case, she had just lost a loved one.

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