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New Research Suggests That Losing A Sibling In Childhood Or Early Adulthood Is Associated With An Increased Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease

“This can lead to multiple downstream effects, including chronic stress, survivor’s guilt, and a host of other emotional or physical responses,” he explained.

Kahan also detailed how numerous studies have established a direct connection between chronic stress or persistent guilt and cardiovascular disease. So, such a traumatic experience, like losing a sibling, can have a lasting impact well into adulthood for those who endure it.

He pointed to Takotsubo cardiomyopathy– commonly known as “broken-heart syndrome”– as one example, which is stress-induced cardiomyopathy that often occurs suddenly following the death of a loved one.

So, given the study’s results, Kahan is advising cardiovascular experts to broaden their perspective to include non-traditional risk factors like loss, bereavement, and stress in assessing cardiovascular disease risks.

“Healthcare professionals end up focusing on patients during the immediate and acute phase of loss; however, given these findings, the chronic phase of loss should also come into focus,” Kahan concluded.

“If a patient has lost a sibling, which many healthcare professionals screen for when examining family history, this study would give me pause as to whether that loss may still be having an effect.”

To read the study’s complete findings, which have since been published in JAMA Network Open, visit the link here.

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