The research tracked nearly 2,000 adults who survived a heart attack and found that among those who had just lost a loved one, the risk of a heart attack soared 21 times higher than normal in the first day.
The risk rate remained six times higher than normal through the first week, and declined slowly over the course of the first month, said the findings in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.
Intense grief can cause a host of symptoms that raise heart risks, including higher heart rate, blood pressure, stress hormone levels and blood clotting.
Grieving people are also prone to lose sleep, miss medications and eat less, which can also boost cardiovascular risks.
"Friends and family of bereaved people should provide close support to help prevent such incidents, especially near the beginning of the grieving process," said Elizabeth Mostofsky, lead author of the research.
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