The hollow zombie state many of us familiarly feel after a breakup may actually be the cause of an untimely death. New research finds that losing a partner puts extreme stress on our hearts. All those Victorian novels were right, you can literally die from a broken heart!
“We often use the term a ‘broken heart’ to signify the pain of losing a loved one and our study shows that bereavement can have a direct effect on the health of the heart,” Dr. Sunil Shah, public health professor at St. George’s University of London and co-author of the study, told UPI.
Researchers looked at older people who experienced bereavement and found an increased risk for heart attack and stroke. The one upside is that the heart health risk doesn’t last as long as the emotional distress. Patients are affected up to 90 days after the loss.
Even though the research focused on older people, heartbreak and loss are not age specific. When an intense bond is broken, it’s not hard to understand that the body’s response isn’t just emotional. Look out for friends and relatives who are grieving – for their hearts’ sake.