President's Prescription: Grief and Health

President's Prescription: Grief and Health

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Grief is a natural response to an unavoidable part of life: loss. But, when does the sadness you feel affect your physical body as well as your emotions? And, how does your body respond?

For a lot of people who have suffered loss, they can tell you that the pain is not always necessarily purely emotional. In fact, for some, the loss of a parent, a loved one, a friend or pet can actually cause physical symptoms.

Here are a few things to look out for in times of loss and how you can help a loved one struggling with loss.

Fatigue: Early on in the grief process, many people feel quite tired. However, prolonged fatigue and feelings of exhaustion might be indicative of depression and should be discussed with your doctor.

Physical pain: Headaches, soreness and chest pain can all accompany deep emotional pain. Loved ones of a grieving person can help by being sensitive to that pain and helping the person find help for both their mental and physical health.

Weakened immunity: Some studies have indicated that grief can impact one's immunity, although the cause is not fully understood. Do everything you can to help a grieving person stay well.

Heart health: They don't call it a "broken heart" for nothing. It turns out immense grief, such as with the death of a spouse, can actually increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, according to a 2014 study.

Sometimes, doing heart-healthy things like exercising can actually help to reduce the burden of grief because physical activity can help with depression symptoms. So if you or a loved one is experiencing depression, or depressive symptoms, make sure to talk to your doctor.

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