Bereavement and heart problems

25 February 2014        

Support in grief

A person’s risk of a heart attack or stroke increases after the death of their partner, a study has found.

Scientists looked at the health records over 30,000 people aged between 60 and 89. They found that a person’s risk of a cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack or stroke, doubled in the 30 days immediately after the death of their spouse.

Our Senior Cardiac Nurse Julie Ward, said: “Losing a loved one is an intense and emotionally stressful time. In exceptional circumstances stress can be a trigger for heart attack or stroke, but this would normally only happen in people who have underlying heart disease.

“To help cope with your feelings you may need extra support from friends and family, especially in the first month following bereavement when stress levels are particularly high.

“It’s important to make sure you look after yourself during those weeks. If you’re having trouble coping your GP will be able to advise on any health issues or further support you may need.”

We know how difficult it can be losing someone you love, but we're here to help you. We also have experts in how to cope with bereavement available to speak to on our Heart Helpline.