How Grief Can Kill You

The intense emotional pain of losing a spouse can take a terrible toll psychologically, newport beach grief counselingespecially in the case of couples that have been in long-term marriages. But can grief actually trigger a heart attack?

Science has recently confirmed what our intuition has long suspected: broken-heart syndrome is real. According to the Journal of the American Heart Association, a grieving person’s risk for a heart attack is 21 times higher than normal the day after a loved one dies. The risk of an attack declines over time but remains elevated within the first month. For this reason, if a married person loses a spouse it is critical that they pay attention to their health, especially the symptom of chest pain.

In addition, older studies indicate that in the weeks and months after the loss of a spouse, grief can lead to greater heart and mortality risks. The researchers interviewed nearly 2,000 people hospitalized for heart attacks over a five-year period and controlled for variables such as a history of disease. Counter-intuitively, individuals with no history of coronary history were most vulnerable to broken-heart syndrome. This longitudinal study also pointed out the obvious: bereavement often leads to anxiety and depression, which are known elevate heart rate, increase blood pressure, and increase blood clotting.

Jennifer De Francisco, MPA, MSW, LCSW is a marriage counselor offering grief counseling in Newport Beach, Irvine and Orange County. She specializes in treating grief, relationships and depression.

Please call her at (949) 251-8797 to schedule an appointment.

If not now, when?

You don’t have to go through this alone. Seriously. Let’s get started.

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Chris B.5.0
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Kids are always hard and as a parent it's not always easy to see objectively what is really going on. Jennifer helped me talk through challenges/issues with my oldest son that were running through my head. In the end she provided me a solid perspective to build on and because of that I have been able to manage the situation much better. Easy conversation and very helpful.
Ravenna S.5.0
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Jennifer is such a wonderful and genuine therapist. She is extremely kind and understanding. She comprehends couple and mental health problems precisely. I would definitely recommend her to anyone that is seeking help.
Ravenna5.0
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Jennifer is such a wonderful and genuine therapist. She is extremely kind and understanding. She comprehends couple and mental health problems precisely. I would definitely recommend her to anyone that is seeking help.
Timothy 5.0
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I have been seeing Jennifer De Francisco for about a year, and she has helped me so much with the unhappiness I thought would never go away. Jennifer’s compassion and empathy made me feel safe enough to open up and talk about the uncomfortable feelings I didn’t even know were causing my sadness. With Jennifer’s help, I am now aware of my negative thoughts. Instead of avoiding them, I can work through them. She has helped change my life.
Denise5.0
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It was tough when we first started with Jennifer , but through difficult conversations and understanding some of the causes of how closed off we were to each other, we worked through it and are in a good place. The idea that we could break up is the furthest thing from my mind now, and going in to work on our relationship was the best thing to do. One of the things that really helped was that I felt Jennifer really cared that our relationship worked and that we improved things between us. I think that is rare, and always helped me not give up hope.
George S.5.0
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I know people hate to hear this, but relationships take work, especially with kids and stress. I would suggest relationship counseling for any married couple, even if it were just monthly or when things get tough. We continue to see Jennifer after our initial problem because it keeps us on track. Best of luck to all couples looking for help- Jennifer is a wonderful resource.