The study conducted by the Sydney University Medical School (SUMS), provides new insight into why people going through the emotional stress caused by bereavement are more at risk of heart disease.
It involved 80 bereaved adults and is the most comprehensive of its type ever undertaken in anywhere.
“CARBER (Cardiovascular Risk in Bereavement) is the first to look in detail at people during the first weeks immediately following their loss,” said Buckley, “revealing that across all age groups and both sexes, emotional and mood changes were greatest during this time.
“Overall the bereaved who participated in CARBER had increases in anxiety, depression and anger symptoms, together with elevated stress hormones and reduced sleep and appetite,” said
“They also showed increases in blood pressure and heart rate, together with immune and blood clotting changes – all changes that could contribute towards a heart attack,” he said.
The study also found that most of the heart risks of bereavement faded after six months,
Results were published in the Internal Medicine Journal.