A 'broken heart' can affect your health

While technically a broken heart does not exist, our emotions can have a major impact on heart function, according to a well-known consultant cardiologist.

Speaking to irishhealth.com on St Valentine's Day, Dr Vincent Maher, consultant cardiologist and medical director of the Irish Heart Foundation, said that a person can not 'die of a broken heart' however bereavement can affect the proper functioning of the heart.

"An acutely stressed person can have a number of problems with their heart, including palpitations and high blood pressure. However when somebody is in a bereaved state, this becomes more severe", Dr Maher said.

"The fact is that there is an increased risk of heart disease among the bereaved", he added.

The bereaved are at greater
risk of heart disease.

Dr Maher also emphasised that while stress and bereavement can aggravate a heart condition, people should bear in mind that relaxing emotions can have a positive effect on heart function.


Anonymous - 21/02/2001 08:50

i have just come out of an 8yr relationship & thought my heart was going to break,but through the stress of it i was ill for a while & am now in a yoga class which is great for relaxing.

Anonymous - 10/03/2001 11:12

I got a pacemaker two years ago so should I wear an identity bracelet?

Anonymous - 10/03/2001 18:33

Had a Bypass 4 years ago still finding it very hard to stick to a diet is there any tablets to help me to loose the weight 16 to 17 stone

Anonymous - 12/03/2001 09:33

Yes a broken heart can effect your health as it triggers of depression a since of unworth which can present alot of problems such as tiredness, weight loss/gain and generally feeling of despair which leads to the body unable to function as it would normally do.

Nicky(Nickyj) - 12/03/2001 16:24

I'm just recently widowed after 5 years of marriage. The feeling of desolation is so absolute, that if I do get sick in the near future, I know my will to fight back to full health is gone.

Marion(Marel) - 19/03/2001 18:27

I suppose it is just wishful thinking that a person can die of a broken heart? It may sound morbid - but it would save all the seemingly endless time of misery that stretches ahead.

joebre - 17/04/2001 22:04

Response to Marion, I know when it happens you think your future is gone, but it's not. Just believe, what's for you, will not pass you by.

Anonymous - 23/02/2002 13:51

The cure for a broken heart is gaining one's self confidence back again-feeling that you are an attractive person that any man/woman would be lucky to meet.

Anonymous - 26/05/2003 13:34

i am 7 months pregnant with my second child. I got married in 6 years ago and my husband wants to leave. He says he does not love me and our relationship does nothing for him. I am heartbroken and find it so hard to believe. I would love to hear from somebody who suffered a similar problem.

HELEN(HELENSTUART) - 21/04/2004 14:44

Life Support: Beginning Experience, a voluntary organisation aims to help widowed, separated and divorced people make a new beginning in life. To benefit fully from the courses, the bereavement, or end of marriage should have taken place at least a year earlier. Weekends are held twice a year and the next weekend is in All Hallows College on May 14/15th/16th 2004. A 7-week Coping Programme is held in White Friar Street Community Centre in March and September. For further information, tel: 01-6790556.

Anonymous - 23/09/2004 21:38

it is not as easy as it sounds for one to regain self confidence! the loss of your 1st love can be devastating!

Kitty - 19/01/2006 10:37

It has taken me over two years and I still haven\'t recovered for the way my ex broke my heart. He told me that he had little sympathy for me because girls had mistreated him in the past.

fifi - 20/01/2006 10:17

I can relate to that! I was dumped by my partner after a 7 year relationship.I was very much in love with them & I didnt see it coming. I actually thought my heart would break open. I have never felt such emotional pain in my life & even now 6 years later when I think back to that time, I can still remember the sadness & pain except now it doesnt hurt.I still dream of them funnily enough. One good thing that came from my betrayal is that my broken heart toughened me up so much. Since then, I can face the end of any other relationship I have been in. The way I look at it is - if I could survive that heartache, I can survive any heartache. My broken heart affected my skin & my breathing for years & of course my self confidence.

Shelly - 26/04/2006 14:48

My father passed away 8 months ago, and ever since my mother has had pains all over her upper body ,mainly her arms , Doctor has said its just old age but people have said it could be bereavement pains, i had'nt heard of this before ...any advice ?

bridie - 26/04/2006 20:51

It is very common to experience such pain due to grief and even palpitations. I myself was diagnosed with angina 8 months after my mother died. I am young, healthy and never smoked. The consultant ( wise man) gave me the all clear and said it was more than likely grief. my pain went when I did my grieving and that meant lots of crying... crying eases the tension. it is a great release. is there a bethany bereavement group in your mum's area area?

juma - 19/11/2012 12:28

Help me to help my daughter who has had her second relationship break up dumped again as she sees it. I cant sleep for fear that she will do something awful. same time just before christmas . wont talk, drags herself to work, beautiful talented young woman ,really loved him thought he was the one, now feels live is over all her friends are married or in relationship , what can i do, both myself and my husband are heatbroken for her but sick with worry

kitten - 21/11/2012 15:25

Hi i went through this last year with my 19 yr old son. He had been with his girlfriend over 3 years since they were just kids and i really feared for his physical and mental health. It took him a long long time to come to terms with it. Now its been almost a year and although i know hes still not fully over it, he seems to enjoy his life, goes out , has good friends and seems happy enough. I know that its terrible to watch your child like that, just keep promising her it will get better.

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