Those who lose a partner are at a high risk of developing an irregular heartbeat which itself is a risk factor of stroke and heart failure.
Losing a life partner is a dreadful experience which can shake you up both mentally and emotionally. It can affect your physical health too.
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A new research has found that losing a partner can literally break a person’s heart. Those who lose a partner are at high risk of developing an irregular heartbeat which in turn increases the risk for heart failure.
Research says that people who lose their partner have 41% increased risk of irregular heartbeat or arterial fibrillation compared to those who have not lost a spouse recently and the risk appears to be greater in younger people who have experienced such a loss than the older generation or people above 60.
“Stress has long been linked to arrhythmia in the heart, and the acute stress of losing your partner in life constitutes one of the biggest impacts of psychological stress one would experience,” said lead researcher Simon Graff from Aarhus University in Denmark. “We wanted to examine that association.”
To find a connection between irregular heartbeat and death of partner, researchers looked at 88,612 people who were newly diagnosed with irregular heartbeat and compared them with a control group of 886,120 healthy people. Researchers took into account several factors that can contribute to the risk of abnormal heartbeat such as age, sex, time since the bereavement, health condition prior to the death of partner or whether they were single.
Researchers found a strong link between irregular heartbeat and the death of the loved one irrespective of gender, age and other underlying factors. Some 17,000 of those who were diagnosed with irregular heartbeat had lost their partner while168,940 had irregular heartbeat from the comparison group.
The risk was more apparent 8 to 14 days after the partner’s death. The risk also seemed greater when the partner died suddenly or unexpectedly compared to those whose partner died after a prolonged illness. People under the age of 60 were most affected by the loss of the partner.
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“The severally stressful life event of losing a partner was followed by a transiently increased risk of atrial fibrillation lasting for 1 year, especially for the least predicted losses.” Study concludes.