Study: A partner's death can cause heart problems
The death of a partner can wreak havoc on a person's heart—literally.
This is the finding of a new study led by Aarhus University in Denmark which focuses specifically on a condition called atrial fibrillation where the heart beats abnormally.
The team compared the medical records of healthy Danish people with those who had been diagnosed with the irregularity between 1995 and 2014.
Researchers found that the risk of developing atrial fibrillation went up by 41 percent for those whose partners died 30 days or less before.
And this figure rose to 57 percent for those with partners who seemed generally healthy soon before passing.
Simon Graff, the team's leader, explains, "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."
While the biggest risk of irregular heartbeats seems to happen between about one and two weeks after a partner's death, a person appears to return to normal levels within a year.
Researchers note, "The underlying causal mechanisms for the association between the loss of a partner and atrial fibrillation is unclear."
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