Did you know that losing a loved one can actually affect your lifespan? For many years, it was observed that when a person loses a partner, it increases the risk of mortality. And just recently, a new paper reviewed the researches done even decades ago relating to bereavement and its effects on the immune system.
Losing a loved one and our immune system
For decades, researchers all over the globe have noticed that when someone loses a loved one, specifically a life partner, there is an increased chance of mortality.
Even if scientists were able to gather a lot of evidence proving this phenomenon, they are still to find out what exactly happens in our body to have such a drastic effect.
Reviewing past findings
The authors from the University of Arizona has published a paper in the journal, Psychosomatic Medicine.
This paper is a literature review attempting to link different studies over the years in order to provide a better picture of why people are likely to die after losing a loved one. When asked why they conducted the research, one of the authors said that since there is strong evidence linking spousal bereavement with early mortality, they want to further understand how the stress brought by the traumatic experience affects the immune system.
What are the effects of losing a loved one to our health?
Below are few of the effects noted over the years:
- heart disease
Hopefully, the review will trigger future researchers to focus on this phenomenon. This will truly help people and apparently save lives.
How you can help
In the meantime, there are multiple ways on how you can help a bereaved. Here are some of the ways you can help them cope up with the loss:
More often than not, a lot of people will surround the bereaved during the wake. But after the memorial or funeral service, there will only be few people left to comfort them. Be one of those few who will stay. Make sure to check on them from time to time and be an instrument for them to recover.
Let them talk, and listen to their stories. But do not ask for too much details most especially on what happened. Allow them to share what they can. Your presence is enough.
You might also notice that the bereaved person will talk about the same things all over again. Remember to be patient.
Avoid giving advice
Even if you are tempted to provide words of encouragement, remember to be cautious. A bereaved person is naturally emotional and you might say things that might not sit well with them. If you think they need someone to talk to, suggest to seek an appointment with a professional to further heal them.
Help them get back in shape
If you live nearby, you can subtly offer help like preparing healthy foods and inviting them for social activities. As shared in the early parts of our article, losing a loved one can affect the immune system. Thus, it is important that you help them stay fit and healthy.