Doctors say cases of someone being scared to death exist
BROOKFIELD- Can you actually be scared to death? Yes, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Wall Street Journal columnist Melinda Beck tells Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Afternoon News with John Mercure" some doctors and neurologists believe the traumatic event exists.
Beck says there are several ways the brain and central nervous system can exert control over the heart. Doctors say brain and central nervous system signals can sometimes be deadly.
"Everybody gets an adrenaline rush whenever their faced with some kind of threat -- a flight-or-fight system," says Beck. "Occasionally, some people get an exaggerated burst of adrenaline."
Doctors say that these cases are incredibly rare, and often need a "perfect storm" of vulnerabilities. Beck says some of those include a lot of plaque in a person's arteries, weak hearts, some genetic variations and the right stresser. She says the stresser doesn't necessarily have to be bad news, sometimes great news can trigger stress cardiomyopathy, or "broken-heart syndrome."
"Experts who have looked at this say they really can't predict who is most vulnerable to this," explains Beck.
For reasons that aren't clear, nearly 80% of known sufferers of stress cardiomyopathy are postmenopausal women, says Beck.
A vast majority of people survive stress cardiomyopathy, but thousands around the world have reportedly died from the "broken-heart syndrome."
Beck says if you survive the stress cardiomyopathy, it's rather unlikely for you to experience another one in a short period of time.
Beck cites a study performed by the Mayo Clinic in 2007, involving 100 stress-cardiomyopathy patients, found that only 11% had a recurrence over the next four years.