And they can now tell you exactly why…
Can you die of a broken heart?
It doesn’t take a scientist to tell us that losing a loved one is one of the most stressful, painful and upsetting things that a person will ever go through, in fact, we have been reporting for years that it is possible to die of a broken heart.
Now however, scientists have discovered the exact reason why a broken heart can kill you.
Using data collected over 19 years, researchers at Aarhus University in Denmark studied almost a million people to find what causes artial fibrillation, otherwise known as an irregular heartbeat. This condition occurs when the heart starts beating outside the normal range of 60-100 beats per minute and causes dizziness and shortness of breath. In severe cases, AF can lead to problems such as blot clots, strokes and even heart failure.
Researchers discovered that those under 60 who had lost a partner were the most in danger, with 41% of recently bereaved people having more chance of developing atrial fibrillation for the first time, than those who weren’t.The study also concluded that losing a loved one unexpectedly could increase the risk of this heart problem by 57%.
‘This study adds evidence to the growing knowledge that the mind-heart link is a powerful association and further examination is warranted,’ says study author Simon Graff, a researcher in the Department of Public Health at Aarhus University.
‘Broken heart syndrome is a different disease with a whole other pathology, but some of the pathophysiological mechanisms might be the same. [Like] surges in hormones that facilitates inflammation and imbalance in the uncontrollable parts of our central nervous system.’
It’s not all bad news for the recently bereaved though, the study also reveals that the first 8-14 days are the most dangerous for a grieving person, and after that there is a gradual decline in the chances of them developing ‘broken heart syndrome.’ In fact after a year, the chances are the same as any other person.
Silver linings, eh?