Can you be scared to death? The simple answer is, YES! This is not something only happening in movies and cartoons. Let’s find out how this could happen.
This condition is called stress cardiomyopathy. Cardio refers to the heart, myopathy means disease related to the (heart) muscle. Another name for this condition is broken heart symptom.
It is true that when you are frightened, your heart is affected by the fear.
You might have heard of the term ‘Adrenaline Rush’. Adrenaline is the main cause of this condition.
Adrenaline, also known as epinephrine, is a hormone that surges in our body when we are in dangerous situations. This hormone gives us an increased heart rate and focuses our body to RUN AWAY from the source of danger. This is at the expense of the activities that our body is involved in during the ‘resting condition’ such as digestion.
The Good & The Bad
Adrenaline is crucial for our survival. Without this natural response, your body will not have enough energy and enough oxygen to facilitate the process of running away from a bear, as an example.
However, when this reaction is in overdrive, the adrenaline surge may cause certain issues to our heart. The surge of the hormone may lead to heart rhythm issues. When the heart is no longer pumping according to the right rhythm, blood flow throughout the body will be affected.
Do I Need To Worry About Horror Movies?
If you are ‘spooked’ by the facts, you really do not have to. While you can practically scare yourself to death, this is quite rare. Most of the time, the impact of adrenaline on the heart is temporary and the resulting impact on the heart is reversible.
Want to know more about interesting facts about your heart? Visit your nearby CARiNG, Georgetown or Welling’s Pharmacy. You can also ASK US through our Facebook Livechat here!
This is an educational program / disease awareness program supported by:
1. Team H and V. It’s true (but rare) that you can be scared to death [Internet]. Cleveland Clinic; 2023 [cited 2023 Oct 20]. Available from: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/its-true-we-can-be-scared-to-death/
2. Can you really be scared to death? [Internet]. 2023 [cited 2023 Oct 20]. Available from: https://www.heart.org/en/news/2018/10/31/can-you-really-be-scared-to-death