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Grief Literally Breaks Your Heart

New study finds that broken hearts aren't just a figure of speech.

The next time someone says they're "heartbroken," they might not be acting melodramatic. A new study has found that losing someone close to you can literally break your heart... and the group that was the most significantly effected was young men. The study, published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, assessed the heart health of people who had lost loved ones. Elizabeth Mostofsky, the lead author of the study, interviewed close to 2,000 people who had suffered heart attacks. She then took their heart attack information and compared it with any bereavement they suffered around that time. Her findings were pretty significant. She discovered that one day after the death of a loved one, the chances of suffering a heart attack were 21 times higher than normal. The week after, the heart attack risk was still six times higher, and they finally started to go down after about a month. "We compared these patients’ losses in the recent past of the last day or week before their heart attack to the loss we would have expected to see based on their loss [pattern] over the past six months," says Mostofsky. "People who have a heart attack are more likely to have lost a person in the recent past than would have been expected based on the number they lost over the past six months to a year." Past studies had already shown that older women were more susceptible to "broken heart syndrome," when they suffer a sudden heart attack after stressful news, but this study was particularly unique in that most of the people who suffered grief-related heart attacks were young men.

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