Study: Loved one's death ups heart attack risk

Businessman suffers a heart attack
Businessman suffers a heart attack

A new study finds that a loss of a loved one doesn't just hurt -- it can actually kill you.

The study, published in the Jan. 9 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, found in the day following the loss of a loved one, a person is 21 times more likely to suffer a heart attack.

Heart attack 21 times more likely after death of loved one

Researchers reviewed charts or interviewed nearly 2,000 adult heart attack survivors who suffered heart attacks between 1989 and 1994. Patients answered questions about circumstances surrounding their heart attacks, including whether they had lost someone important to them, and if so, when.

The researchers determined that 270 people experienced a heart attack within six months of losing a loved one. Nineteen people had a heart attack the day after losing someone important to them. The 21-fold increase in heart attack risk declines to a six-fold risk following the first week of grieving. Then heart attack risk steadily declines over the course of a month.

On "CBS This Morning" Dr. Jon LaPook said it's widely known that emotions can affect the body. He said following the loss of a loved one your body may be affected, from adrenaline potentially closing up your heart vessels to elevated blood pressure and pulse.

For LaPook's health recommendations, including advice on aspirin use, watch the video in the player above.