Since Halloween is upon us and scary things shall happen, it might make you wonder whether scaring someone to death is a real thing.
Well look no further because the answer is yes, Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, said.
Fight-or-flight response is a physiological reaction that occurs when people are faced with a possible attack, harmful event, or threat to survival. According to Dr. Glatter, fear can trigger this response which gives the person a rush of adrenaline to either fight the attacker or run away.
The autonomic nervous system is the primary mechanism that controls the fight-or-flight response. A person usually experiences rapid heart rate, increased blood flow to the muscles, dilated pupils, when faced with a fight-or-flight situation, Dr. Glatter stated.
The adrenaline rush is a sudden and an involuntary response, and when higher levels of adrenaline are release they may cause damage to the heart.
“Calcium rushes into the heart cells, which causes the heart muscle to contract strongly. In a massive response, the calcium keeps on pouring in, and the heart muscles can’t relax,” Dr. Glatter said.
Ventricular fibrillation – a condition in which the heart experiences uncoordinated contractions that make it not beat regularly, and quiver rather than contract properly – may occur when increased levels of adrenaline reach the heart, according to Dr. Glatter.
This physiological reaction can occur is healthy people as well, not only in those who suffer from a pre-existing heart disease.
A scary situation on Halloween may turn into a deadly event, if it triggers the erratic contractions in someone’s heart.
Apart from fear, other types of intense emotions may also generate the reaction. For instance increased levels of adrenaline may be released during sporting events, sexual intercourse, or religious fervour, Dr. Glatter noted. Horrible smells or loud noises could also set off the fight-or-flight response.
People can also be held accountable if they scare others to death. According to the Associated Press, an insurance company had to pay $300,000 to settle a lawsuit which involved a man 85 of age in Detroit, who got ‘scared to death’ (literally), after a tractor-trailer suddenly appeared in front of him.
Image Source: testtube