A grieving heart

HHS HealthBeat (May 1, 2012)

A grieving heart 

A man in sadness puts his head in his hands.

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A study of 2,000 people hospitalized for heart attacks finds the psychological stress of losing a loved one can increase heart attack risk.

At Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Elizabeth Mostofsky and her collaborators say heart attack symptoms should not be dismissed as a harmless response to grief.  Mostofsky says:

"Bereaved individuals and their family and friends should be aware of this heightened risk to make sure that the bereaved person takes care of him or herself. It may indicate that the person is indeed having a heart attack and should seek immediate medical attention." (11 seconds)

She also says:  

“The risk of having a heart attack was 21 times higher in the 24 hours following the loss of loved one, compared to other times.” (6 seconds)

The study in the journal Circulation was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

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05/01/2012 01:01 AM EDT