It is no secret that heart disease is a prevalent threat that is becoming increasingly more common in Americans – particularly older ones. In fact, an estimated 85.6 million American adults have one or more types of cardiovascular diseases. Of this number, 43.7 million are estimated to be over sixty years of age. Although, those statistics may seem daunting there are things that can be pinpointed to contributing to the cause of the disease. One of the things that are often discussed and speculated upon in connection with heart related is this: Can someone die from a broken heart?
In short, the answer is yes. The theory of dying from a broken heart is often talked about and it has been proven that it is a real medical condition. Broken heart syndrome is typically triggered by acute, or major, stress and shock. The death of a loved one qualifies as one of those triggers.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) defines broken heart syndrome as “a temporary condition where your heart is suddenly weakened or stunned”. Scientific studies show that your heart’s largest chamber, the left ventricle, can change shape, which can cause a temporary dysfunction. For most people, this naturally corrects itself and they recover. However, in some patients the change of shape can be a trigger for fatal heart attacks. An interesting thing to note is that 90 percent of broken heart syndrome occurs in women.
Called, the “bereavement effect,” studies have shown that the passing of a loved one can actually raise your own risk of sudden death. Some evidence even links the connection between a spouse experiencing illness and the partner’s mortality risk. In 2006, the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) reported that the risk of death increased after the hospitalization of a partner. Some ailments of course caused a more profound effect than others. Years later in 2011, a study found that following a partner’s death, the surviving partner’s odds of surviving remained elevated for six months.
While these reports are frightening and possibly intimidating, there are things you can do to protect yourself if this should occur for you. Optimism can promote longevity. Researchers have noted a connection between the brain and the immune system and the most influential factor in increasing longevity in your life is a positive outlook. Cultivate a positive outlook and happy emotions by doing things like giving to other people, connecting with people in your community, exercising and taking proper care of your body, and appreciating the world around you, just to name a few.
Another way to maintain a positive outlook and in turn, improve your longevity is to have a companion. Often seniors spend too much time alone, allowing them to become lonely and jaded. If you need to find a caregiver for yourself or a loved one, contact our team. Our caregivers often just offer companionship to those we serve along with helping with tasks both great and small.
The Harmony Home Care professionals are more than happy to serve those in need of caregiving assistance in Sacramento, El Dorado, Placer, and Yolo counties. For daily tips, advice, and news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Plus.