By Brent L. Handel Q.C.
Risk of Heart Disease
Heart disease risk when grieving has been studied before and researchers have found a connection between heart disease and grief. However some recent studies have shed new light upon heart attack patients who have recently lost a loved one. Their recent findings have been quite shocking. What researchers have found is that losing a loved one increases your chance of a heart attack twenty-one fold the next day. They also found that this trend continues and that your risk of a heart attack is six fold by the end of the first week. However, after one month from the loss of the loved one, the heart attacks begin to sharply decline.
Grief Can Break Your Heart
What this latest research on grief reveals is that grief affects the body in numerous ways such as altering blood pressure, as well as blood vessel chemistry so that clots are more likely to form leading to a heart attack.
Furthermore, the emotional distress not only causes these physiological changes in the body which can lead to a heart attack, but the grief and emotional stress from losing a loved one, for example in a fatal motor vehicle accident, can cause the survivors to alter otherwise healthy habits. For example, survivors may stop taking medication that they normally take, they may stop exercising, and they may not eat a proper diet. All of these factors of course can then lead to an increased risk of heart attack over the longer term.
What this research underlies is the importance of survivors to seek grief counselling immediately as there are risk factors at play which can easily be underestimated in a fatal motor vehicle accident. The survivor’s own motor vehicle policy has a contractual provision which automatically pays for grief counselling for the family up to $400.00 which can be accessed easily by contacting the survivor’s own insurance company without the assistance of a lawyer.
Additional amounts for ongoing grief counselling may be obtained against the wrongdoer’s insurance company with the assistance of a lawyer as part of a larger fatal accident claim. For grief counselling in Calgary see: http://www.albertahealthservices.ca/4072.asp . In Edmonton see the Edmonton Bereavement Centre at http://www.jfse.org . In Fort McMurray see: http://fortmcmurrayvictimservices.com In Grande Prairie see the Grande Prairie & District Grief Support Association: http://www.circleoflifegp.com . In Red Deer see: http://www.parklandfuneralhome.com . Resource list for Grief support in the Red Deer area.
In Lethbridge see: www.theravive.com/cities/ab/counsellor-Lethbridge.aspx. In Medicine Hat see: http://www.mhfamilyservice.com
Brent L. Handel, Q.C.