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Bereavement 'increases risk of death'

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People whose partners have died are almost 20% more likely to die of serious illness, irrespective of other underlying risk factors they might have, concludes UK research.

People whose partners have died are almost 20% more likely to die of serious illness,irrespective of otherunderlying risk factorsthey might have, concludes UK research.

The findings are based on residents of two Scottish towns aged between 45 and 64, who were tracked for four years from 1972 to 1976.

After taking account of factors, such as smoking and high blood pressure, the loss of a partner was associated with a19% chance of dying from cardiovascular and coronary heart diseases, stroke, and all cancers except for lung cancer. It was also associated with a higher risk of dying a violent death, including suicide.

The increased risk remained constant after bereavement, althoughdeaths from heart disease and stroke tended to be more common in the first five years.

Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health (2007) 61: 455-60

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