Is it possible to die of fear?

There are people who are scared to death of heights, others who are scared to death of spiders, as well as those who are scared to climb on roller coasters and those who are scared to death! However, even though the term scared to death is used so often and in a wide variety of contexts, could anyone literally kick their boots like that?

According to Erin McCarthy of the Mental_Floss portal, it is possible for a person to literally die of fear, although this is relatively rare. As he explained, when we find ourselves in a situation that frightens or frightens us, the mechanism of "escape or fight" is triggered by our body, and a lot of things start happening to us.

Escape or fight

First, an adrenaline rush occurs, which in turn causes the heart to beat faster and thus send more blood to the muscles. In addition, breathing is accelerated, pupils dilate, muscles become tense, superficial blood vessels contract, and some physiological functions - such as digestion - slow down.

All of these responses make us temporarily faster and stronger than normal, increasing our chances of running away or fighting in a dangerous situation. The problem is that while the heart can usually handle all of this without any major problems, adrenaline, although produced and released by our body, is a toxic substance that, in excess, can do us harm.

Toxic Discharge

Adrenaline acts on the receptors in the heart's muscle cells, triggering a chemical reaction that affects the system that regulates heart rate, causing the heart muscle to contract. However, when the discharge of this substance is too great, it may happen that the adrenaline causes the heart to contract and cannot relax or to work at a pace that is not compatible with life.

One of these effects is what cardiologists call ventricular fibrillation, which causes the ventricles - which are the chambers in the lower part of the heart - to contract completely, preventing blood from being pumped and triggering cardiopulmonary arrest.

Luckily, this type of problem does not often occur in healthy people. However, if someone is suffering from heart disease - such as blocked arteries, for example - then the thing changes, and the risk of being scared to death becomes very real.

And since we're on the subject, Erin even explained that it's possible to die of joy too. According to him, very strong positive emotions can also trigger a process in our organism similar to the response to the fear and cause the death of the superhappy.

* Posted on 12/03/2015


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