Death from a broken heart? It’s possible, scientists say

© Desmond Boylan
It turns out you really can die of a broken heart, according to recent research published by Danish scientists. The death of a life partner, especially unexpected, may cause a potentially fatal irregular heartbeat.

One million Danes took part in the study between 1995 and 2014, with those who suffered bereavements demonstrating a greater danger of developing a heart flutter.

The most elevated risk was seen among those aged under 60.

The risk was the highest “eight-14 days after the loss, after which it gradually declined,” stated the study, which was published in the online Open Heart journal. A year later, the risk was almost equal to “the non-bereaved population.”

The hazard was much more elevated (41 percent higher) when comparing the bereaved with those who had not suffered the loss of someone close to them.

It should be noted that the study only observed the connection between grief and developing atrial fibrillation – the most commonly seen type of irregular heartbeat, plus the danger of having a stroke or heart failure.

People under 60 were twice as likely to develop abnormalities, and those whose partners died unexpectedly were 57 percent more in danger.

In general, the death of a life partner is considered one of the most stressful events – the bereaved are at risk of depression, the loss of sleep and appetite, and alcoholism.