YOU REALLY COULD DIE FROM A BROKEN HEART; ...and young are most at risk.
Byline: firstname.lastname@example.org andrew gregory
A LOVED one's death can really break our hearts, a major study suggests.
Scientists turned up compelling evidence for the first time that bereavement can cause physical changes which raise the risk of deadly strokes and heart failure.
People who lose a partner are at an increased risk of developing an irregular heartbeat, or atrial fibrillation.
The risk appears to be greatest in younger people after the death of their loved one. The risk also rises when the death of a loved one is least expected.
Those whose partners were relatively healthy in the month before death were 57 per cent more likely to develop an irregular heartbeat.
Danish researchers analysed data from almost 90,000 people diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and compared it to almost 900,000 healthy people.
After taking into account a number of factors, the researchers calculated the risk of developing an irregular heartbeat for the first time was 41 per cent higher among those who had been bereaved.
The study, published in journal Open Heart today, found risk was highest eight to 14 days after the loss, after which it gradually declines.
41% A year later, a bereaved person's risk is the same as someone who has not had such a loss.
Rise in risk irregular among had The study authors suggest that acute stress may disrupt normal heart rhythms and prompt the production of chemicals involved in inflammation.
They wrote: "The elevated risk was especially high for those who were young and who lost a relatively healthy partner.
"Bereavement is a major life event, which is known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, mental illness and death."
of first-time heartbeat those who been bereaved who lost 41% Rise in risk of first-time irregular heartbeat among those who had been bereaved
AT RISK Sorrow harms health