Grief takes its toll
A person’s risk of heart attack or stroke is doubled in the month following the death of a spouse or partner. The increased risk fades in subsequent months. Researchers used a U.K. health registry to compare more than 30,000 people ages 60 to 89 whose partner or spouse had died with a group of 83,000 people who weren’t bereaved but who matched the survivors in age and gender. Previous studies have shown that the bereaved have higher levels of inflammatory cells and clotting factors in their blood.