According to researchers from Denmark’s Aarhus University, human grief can literally cause heart problems.
The research team looked at the medical data for about one million Danes and discovered that people who experience the loss of a partner had a 41% increased chance of an irregular heartbeat.
Called atrial fibrillation or arrhythmia, it takes place when there is a breakdown in the heart’s electrical system causing the heart’s chambers to flutter or beat very fast. It can result in increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and even death.
The risk was even higher when the death was unexpected resulting in a 57% increased risk of atrial fibrillation.
They also discovered this was happening to people who up to this point had never experienced an irregular heart beat. In the study, the researchers found that of the 88,612 who were diagnosed with atrial fibrillation for the first time, 17,478 had experienced the loss of a loved one within the previous year.
In a Los Angeles Times article, Simon Graff, one of the study leaders, said:
“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.”
The study found that this risk increased equally for both men and women and can affect a person if they are living together or separate. It was also not a problem related to age as the risk of experiencing arrhythmia was actually higher, doubling if a person was under the age of 60.
The risk for atrial fibrillation was most severe between eight and 14 days after the death of a loved one. After two weeks the risk starts to slowly decline, but it doesn’t completely disappear until a year after the death.
The emotional trauma associated with the loss of a person close to you does take a physical toll.
Throughout the Bible there are several verses where we see that God not only desired to heal people of physical ailments, but emotional ones as well.
Early in His ministry, Jesus said God had sent Him to heal the “broken-hearted.”
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed; (Luke 4:18 King James)
The word “suntribo” translated “broken” means crushed, shattered, bruised or broken down. And according to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon it can also mean shiver, so literally it can refer to a shivering heart, which describes atrial fibrillation.
Emotional trauma can impact our bodies and Jesus wants to heal the grief and sadness when your heart is broken by calamities beyond your control.
- Losing a partner can hurt the heart — literally: Foxnews
- Heartbreak doesn’t just hurt the heart emotionally: Newser
- Losing a loved one can literally break your heart: Los Angeles Times