Grieving Partners are More Prone to Illness Risk

Grieving Partners are More Prone to Illness Risk

The scientists have discovered a relation between the grief and the risk of infection and claim to have found an explanation to why some widows or widowers die within some days or even hours after the death of their spouse.

According to the immunologists, the parts of immune system get suppressed of the grieving person (especially elderly person) under the emotional trauma of losing a beloved one. This makes the person more vulnerable to infections. “There are a lot of anecdotes about couples who were married for 40 years when one of them passes away and then the other dies a few days later,” said Professor Janet Lord, who led the research. “It seems there is a biological basis for this.”

He further explains saying, “Rather than dying of a broken heart, however, they are dying of a broken immune system. They usually get infections.” The function of a type of white blood cell called as neutrophils gets distracted due to intervention of emotional stress and depression weakening the immune system, as per immunologists at the University of Birmingham. They say that the neutrophils are accountable for fighting the bacterial infections like pneumonia.

With the growth in age, the people start becoming incapable of producing DHEA (hormone capable of counteracting the dampening affect). So, even the healthy elderly people can become ill due to a sorrow. In addition to this, the immunologists said that this hormone imbalance can also be caused by a hip fracture. The DEA hormone imbalance suppresses the immune system. Thus, this study also reveals the fact behind the death of one amongst the four people aged above 80 years within a year of suffering from a hip fracture.

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