Many studies show that losing your mate affects your own health. Most recently, a 2011 study at the University of Pennsylvania Population Studies Center found that widows had a 47% higher mortality rate than married women the same age. Another study, published in January 2012 in the American Heart Association journal “Circulation,” found grief over the death of a significant person was associated with a sharply increased risk of acute heart attack in the days and weeks following the death and funeral.
Bereavement takes an enormous toll on the immune system, can send blood pressure soaring, and otherwise stresses mind and body in countless ways. Even risk for accidents rises because you’re distracted. You may fall into bad habits like failing to take medication you need. Yet there are ways to stay as healthy as possible. The first step is awareness of your vulnerability and taking preventive action with:
In short, protect and take care of yourself. It isn’t selfish; it’s necessary.
If you have a question for Florence, please email her at email@example.com.
Florence Isaacs is a freelance journalist, author—and a widow herself. Her books include My Deepest Sympathies, When the Man You Love Is Ill and Just a Note to Say...The Perfect Words for Every Occasion.
Image: Flickr Creative Commons / USAG-Humphreys