17:24 22 August 2012
The impact of having a heart attack can also affect the victim’s spouse, as they face an increased risk of depression and anxiety.
Research reveals that this is because shock is comparable to post-traumatic stress disorder, as found by a Danish study.
Those people who lost their partners to a heart attack, were in the same year three times as likely to take anti-depressants.
And if their partner survived the heart attack the spouse’s use of the drug was still increased by 17% in comparison to the previous year.
The European Heart Journal found that the use of anxiety drugs also increased.
Danish registries reflected the researchers compared 16,506 spouses of people who died from a heart attack between 1997 and 2008 with 49,518 spouses of people who died from other causes.
"A heart attack can impact the whole family, and this study emphasises the importance of caring for the partners of heart attack sufferers,” Maureen Talbot, Senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, told the BBC.
"We know that people can feel anxious or helpless when a loved one has a heart attack. It is essential they receive the emotional and practical support they need during this often traumatic time."
It is understood females were less likely to suffer the after-effects of a heart attack than males.
The research touched on the effect of sudden loss felt by a person. It suggested a spouse of a heart attack victim had their health affected greater than those whose partners suffered other medical conditions.
As quoted by the Daily Mail, the author of the report Dr Emil Fosbol, of Duke University Medical Center, said: "If your partner dies suddenly from a heart attack, you have no time to prepare psychologically for the death, whereas if someone is ill with, for example, cancer, there is more time to grow used to the idea.”
Approximately 340 heart attacks happen in the UK daily, with an estimated 13% being fatal.
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