Heartbreak Can Literally Kill You, Says Very Sad Study

Photo: Getty Images
Broken Heart Syndrome Can Literally Kill You, Says Study

Most often, we think of heartbreak as a certain sense of sadness and longing when a relationship ends that can only be stifled with pints of Ben & Jerry's and the constant reassurance from close friends that "You're better off, honey."

When we're dying of a broken heart, we think of it in the figurative sense, but can love kill you for real? Can you die from a heartbreak?

RELATED: The Most Painful Thing About Heartbreak Is Losing Yourself

Dying of a broken heart may actually be more real than we think. Because new research has shown that heartbreak is a real occurrence, named "broken heart syndrome," and happens after the loss of a loved one or the end of a relationship. And it can literally kill you.

Put down the ice cream and allow us to explain. 

In 2018, researchers from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center found that a person's risk of suffering from a heart attack increases by 21 times in the first 24 hours after losing a loved one.

Over the course of five years, the researchers interviewed 2,000 patients who suffered from heart attacks, including asking them questions regarding triggering events. The results showed that the risk of heart attack is eight times higher than normal during the week after the death of a loved one. Though it slowly declines, that risk remains elevated for at least one month.

RELATED: These 6 Zodiac Signs Can't Handle Heartbreak — At All

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Join now for YourTango's trending articles, top expert advice and personal horoscopes delivered straight to your inbox each morning.

Previous studies have shown that one's health declines after the death of someone close, but this is the first study to discover this "broken heart syndrome."

Researchers are associating the increased risk with the feelings of depression, anxiety and anger that come with grief. These feelings lead to an increased heart rate and blood pressure, which makes blood more likely to clot and can ultimately cause the heart attack.

"The emotional sense of the broken heart may actually lead to damage, leading to heart attack and a physical broken heart of a sort," explains senior author Murray Mittleman, MD, DrPH.  

It's interesting to consider that the death of a loved one can cause so much emotional pain that eventually, physical pain (in the form of a "broken heart") follows suit. It almost makes you rethink that pint of post breakup Ben & Jerry's, if only to prepare your arteries for the real heartbreak that may someday come.

RELATED: 5 Ways To Never Experience Heartbreak Ever Again

Editor's Note: This article was originally posted in April 2018 and was updated with the latest information.

Kait Smith is an editor, writer, social media manager, higher education professional, and graduate student; the list goes on and on. Visit her website for more.