According to a new study, in the period of three months after the death of a spouse, widowers and widows are more likely to manifest risk factors related to cardiovascular disease and death.
The study has been published in Psychoneuroendocrinology.
Those who have lost a spouse in the last three months have higher levels of proinflammatory cytokines (immune markers that indicate inflammation in the bloodstream) and a lower heart rate variability (HRV).
Both are factors that increase an individual's risk of cardiac events, including death. As explained by the lead author of the study Chris Fagundes, assistant professor of psychology at the Faculty of Social Sciences of Rice University:
In the first six months after the loss of a spouse, the viduos or widows have a 41 percent higher risk of death. It is important to note that 53 percent of this increase in risk is due to cardiovascular disease.
Fagundes says the study adds to a growing understanding of how grief can affect heart health.. Therefore, he hopes the research will help medical professionals better understand the biological mechanisms triggered by grief and allow the creation of specific psychological and / or pharmacological interventions to reduce or prevent the side effects of a "broken heart."
Image | JuditK