You can die from a broken heart

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  • Scientists have found that a broken heart can make you 21 times more likely to suffer a heart attack

    The intense grief of having your heart broken can increase heart rate, blood pressure and blood clotting, which could cause heart attack, according to a new study,

    Scientists found that this, coupled with stress and a lack of sleep following the loss of a loved one, can dramtically increase the chance of a heart attack. The risk rises by 21 times within the first day, and remains six times higher than normal in the first week.

    ‘Caretakers, health providers, and the bereaved themselves need to recognise they are in a period of heightened risk in the days and weeks after hearing someone close is dying,’ says doctor Murray Mittleman, preventative cardiologist and epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School.

    Grieving spouses have higher long term risks of dying, with heart attack and strokes accounting for 53 per cent of deaths.

    The Determinants of MI Onset Study found that at the beginning of the grieving process, individuals are likely to experience less sleep, low appetite and higher cortisol levels, which can also contribute to adverse heart problems.

    ‘Friends and family of bereaved people should provide close support to help prevent such incidents, especially near the beginning of the grieving process,’ says Elizabeth Mostofsky.

    Heart attack signs include chest discomfort, upper body or stomach pain, shortness of breath, breaking into a cold sweat, nausea and light-headedness.


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