Researchers have finally proved that you can die of a broken heart. Pun intended.
People mourning the loss of a loved one are six times more likely to suffer cardiac arrest, Australian researchers said on Tuesday.
According to a Heart Foundation study of the physical changes suffered immediately after a profound loss, grieving people were at significantly higher risk of heart problems, said lead researcher Thomas Buckley.
Of the 160 people studied, half were mourning the loss of a partner or child, and their risk of heart attack increased six-fold, he said.
The risk, which was evident in people as young as 30, reduced after six months and levelled out after two years, he added.
A sudden flood of stress hormones is believed to be behind the grief-induced heartache, a condition that earlier studies have found is more likely to affect women.