Your broken heart may kill you. It’s true. Heartbreak is deadly, or makes you feel like the reaper is slowly shutting down every organ in your body, sucking the life force out of you one scoop of ice cream at a time. Sadly, there is proof that losing love can be the death of you. Or do some major damage.
You’ve heard of people so in love who died within hours, days, or months of each other seemingly with no other explanation other than they just couldn’t live without the other person — heartbreak. Johnny Cash died just four months after his love June. There is science behind that and also some other observations of the awful things that can happen to you after a broken heart.
Broken heart syndrome is nothing new. But maybe your broken heart is new to you. So … prepare …
1. You may begin to lose your hair. It’s high levels of the stress hormone cortisol that can make your hair thinner and start to fall out. Hang in there, though. In about six weeks, after the initial breakup, your hair will stop falling out at such an alarming rate. Hopefully you have enough to make it that far.
2. You become more susceptible to catching a cold or the flu or various other nasty germy stomach issues. Pesty cortisol to blame again.
3. Emotional stress brings on headaches, along with nausea, heart palpitations, and all-over body pains. Heartbreak makes you hurt all over.
4. People with asthma beware. People without should worry. A broken heart can trigger an asthma attack and is even said to possibly increase your risk of getting asthma to begin with.
5. You may get high blood pressure. Your heart beats faster in a bad way, blood vessels narrow, and your BP goes up.
6. Inflammatory bowel disease can happen. I’m going to just describe this one a constant need to hang out on the toilet.
7. Cancer risk increases. Terrifying, isn’t it? It’s possible due to the weakened immune system brought on by heartbreak — the body makes less natural cancer killing cells. Some researchers say that risk is way too small to count; however, they suggest the smoking, drinking, and overeating that comes with heartbreak is more likely the concern. Knock that off.
8. The risk of a having a heart attack is 21 times higher in the 24 hours following the death of a spouse, says one Harvard study.
9. Do I need to mention the risk of diabetes? Has to do with the cortisol and insulin production. My gosh, this is scary. We need to protect our hearts.
So now that we are all adequately freaked out, know that these risks are super small. The greatest risk lives within this next one …
10. You may also make some awful decisions. I’m talking reckless stuff. Like getting an awful haircut, a dreadful tattoo, forgetting to shower for weeks, eating only comfort foods and gaining too many pounds, or going home with the last guy at the bar at closing time just because he’s the last guy at the bar at closing time. During these heartbroken times, it’s good to have a level-headed (and not heartbroken) friend around to look after you.
Of course, there’s always wine and chocolate (in moderation) and other heartbreak cures you can indulge in while sitting on your couch in your PJs with a Ryan Gosling movie on.