Breakthrough!: Recent research from the LMA

Grief Boosts Heart Attack Risk

Most people know love sometimes hurts, but a new study shines light on how much truth there is in that statement.

Researchers at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have found that within 24 hours after losing a loved one, a person is 21 times more likely to suffer a heart attack. The risk remains eight times above normal levels during the first week before slowly declining, but staying elevated for at least a month.

Along with physical and medical needs being met, researchers say, a person grieving should also receive psychological counseling.

“We do think it’s plausible that social support during that increased time of vulnerability would help mitigate the risk of heart attack,” said lead author of the study Elizabeth Mostofsky, a post-doctoral fellow in the cardiovascular epidemiological unit at BIDMC.

The study was first reported in the journal “Circulation” in the Jan. 9 online version.

From press materials. 

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