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Recollection of Grief Following Death of Loved One Tied to BP Increases

Severity of grief tied to greater increases in blood pressure

WEDNESDAY, June 28, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Talking about feelings of separation and attachment following the death of a loved one (grief recall) is tied to increases in blood pressure (BP), according to a study published online June 1 in Psychosomatic Medicine.

Roman Palitsky, Ph.D., from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and colleagues examined hemodynamic responses to the grief recall and the relationship of grief severity to BP response. Analysis included 59 participants within one year of the loss of a close loved one.

The researchers found that systolic BP and diastolic BP increased significantly after grief recall (21.10 and 8.10 mm Hg, respectively). Grief severity predicted magnitude of increase after grief recall for systolic BP but not diastolic BP when adjusting for variables relevant to cardiovascular function and bereavement (e.g., antihypertensive medication use, days since death, gender, and age). There was no relationship observed between grief severity and BP recovery.

"It's important for psychologists and therapists to encourage grieving clients to get their regular medical checkups," a coauthor said in a statement. "Often, when we've been caring for a loved one who's dying, we neglect our own health care."

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