If you’ve been giving your mate shit for sulking over a breakup you might want to amp up the empathy with a new study finding that death by broken heart could be a real possibility.
After analysing the health data of nearly one million Danish people between the years of 1995 to 2014, a team of researchers – led by Simon Graff of Aarhus University – discovered that a life-threatening irregular heartbeat can develop 8-14 days after the loss of a life partner, possibly leading to death.
The study looked at several factors that might increase the risk of the heart issue (known as atrial fibrillation), including age and sex; underlying health conditions; and the health of the partner. “The risk of developing an irregular heartbeat for the first time was 41% higher among those who had been bereaved than it was among those who had not experienced such a loss,” said the study.
It’s not just the oldies with prior heart conditions affected by heartbreak, either. People under 60 were more than twice as likely to develop problems after suddenly losing their partner. So there you have it, heartbreak is the new killer.