The science that proves grief can damage your body as well as your mind:• https://www.dailymail.co, By JULIE COOK
Grief may have effects that go beyond its emotional toll. There's growing evidence linking grief with an increased risk of conditions from heart disease and cancer to memory problems, digestive issues and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Just this month, researchers found that bereaved parents are at an increased risk of developing atrial fibrillation, where the heart beats erratically, increasing the risk of a stroke.
The researchers, at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, who looked at data from the parents of more than 800,000 children born between 1973 and 2016, concluded that bereaved parents 'may benefit from increased support from family members and health professionals'. 'Broken heart breaks the heart,' is the simple conclusion of Dr Dang Wei, an epidemiologist at the Karolinska Institute.
'We found that individuals who lost a close family member (e.g. a child, partner, parent, sibling) had higher risks of atrial fibrillation, heart disease, myocardial infarction (heart attack), stroke and heart failure than those who hadn't lost a close family member,' he told Good Health.
It follows research published in the journal JAMA Network Open last year, which found that losing a parent as an adult raised the risk of heart disease and stroke.
The study, based on a million people in Sweden and Denmark, found that bereavement put people at a 41 per cent increased risk of heart disease — the risk was highest in the first three months after the loss — and a 30 per cent increased risk of stroke.