A friend jumps suddenly in front of you at the corner of a building. Your heart begins to beat and feel a strange state of dizziness. “You scared me to death!” You say.
Of course, the fact that you can say this common phrase means that you have not died. But saying that it is so common, in fact, we have to ask the question: is it really possible to be scared to death?
Answer: Yes, people can be scared of death. In fact, any strong emotional reaction can trigger fatal amounts of substances like adrenaline in the body. It happens very rarely, but it can happen to anyone.
The risk of death due to fear or other strong emotion is greater for people with heart disease, but also perfectly healthy people can become victims.
Being “scared to death” reduces our autonomous response to a strong emotion, such as fear. For deaths caused by fear, death begins with a “fight or run” reaction. This is the physical response of the body to what it perceives to be a threat.
This response is characterized by an increase in heart rate, increased anxiety, sweating and increased blood glucose levels.
However, how does our instinct “fight or flee” lead to death? To understand this, we need to know what the nervous system does when stimulated, first of all, to release hormones.
These hormones, which can be adrenaline or compounds, prepare the body for action. But adrenaline and similar chemicals, released at high doses, are toxic to the heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, even the brain.
Scientists claim that what leads to sudden death because of fear is especially the heart attack of adrenaline. The heart is the only organ that, reacting to an excess of adrenaline, can cause sudden death.
Adrenaline causes an influx of calcium in the heart. Calcium “flooded”, the heart will have problems with the slowing of the rhythm, which can cause ventricular fibrillation, a specific type of abnormal heart rhythm.
Irregular heart beats prevent the organ from pumping blood into the body, leading to sudden death if not treated immediately.
But it’s not just fear that can generate a “rain” of adrenaline. Other strong emotions can also cause an excess of adrenaline. For example, it is known that sports events and sexual intercourse can trigger human adrenaline levels in the human body.