Research has revealed that grief could impair immunity; and as a consequence, the body may succumb to certain infections.
The kind of grief that you could experience as a result of a loved one dying could leave you morevulnerable to infections so there could be something to all those stories of people dying from a broken heart after all!
How grief can be responsible for causing death
Examples of deaths of well-known individuals soon after the death of their spouses seem to indicate that this is so. Examples include instances such as the death of former PM James Callaghan at age 92 just 10 days after the death of his wife, and the death of Johnny Cash just months after losing his wife.
According to researchers at the University of Birmingham, an increase in levels of stress can interfere with white blood cell functioning.
Reduction of these white blood cells orneutrophils could leave a person vulnerable to infections such as pneumonia.
And researchers found that the effect could be even more marked among older people, making them fall victim to infections even when they are otherwise healthy.
Research leader Janet Lord clarifies however that rather than a broken heart it could be a broken immune system that could be responsible for killing people who die within a short time of their partners.
How to overcome grief
Firstly, you need to recognize the fact that you are grieving – it could be due to a death, the end of a relationship, a miscarriage, a serious illness, the loss of a job or even the end of a cherished dream.
Secondly, you need to face the fact that your loss is in fact something that needs time to heal and to get better. Brushing aside your loss or grief will not make it go away, it will simply manifest in other ways at a later stage.
You don’t have to be strong and put a brave face on it, rather you should express your grief in whichever way is right for you. There are not set ways of expressing grief and neither there is a specific time within which everything is supposed to get better.
Get help if needed, speak to a friend or someone who will understand or consider therapy that will help to resolve your issues rather than trying to deal with everything on your own.