Friday, February 26, 2010

Can Heartbreak Really Raise Heart Disease Risk?

Heartbreak, as defined by Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, means crushing grief, anguish, or distress.

When a person loses his or her loved one, heartbreak or broken heart can occur. The losing of loved one can be through dead, divorce, breakup, being rejected or any other means. Many people are not aware that they actually have a broken heart as it takes time for them to fully acknowledge the emotional or physical loss.

Australian researchers revealed on September 15, 2009 that people with broken heart because of losing loved one are 6 times more likely to suffer heart attack. When blood flow to the muscle of the heart is impaired, heart attack might occur.

A Heartbreak Foundation study of physical changes suffered immediately after a profound loss found that grieving people were at a much higher risk of getting medical problems related to heart disease. The researchers discovered that the grieving people had higher blood pressure, increased heart rate, changes to immune system and clotting that would raise the risk of heart attack.

Half of the 160 people participated in the study lose a partner or child. Their risk of heart attack was found to increase 6-fold. The risk reduced after 6 months even for people as young as 30 years old. The risk, however, leveled off after 2 years.

It is believed that a sudden flood of stress hormones is behind the grief-induced heartache. Such condition has been found to be more likely to affect women in earlier studies.

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