HEALTH REPORT: Scared to death?

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Everyone knows the phrase, "scared to death", but most would say it is a great exaggeration.
Rhiannon Walker takes an in-depth look at the validity of this statement in this week's Halloween Health Report.
And a warning to our viewers - this video contains images of blood and gore, which some may find disturbing.
Rhiannon Walker; Reporting>>: Many people say they have nearly been 'scared to death', but can being frightened have any real impact on our health?
Doctor Marc Gillinov is a cardiovascular surgeon at Cleveland Clinic and says that research shows that strong emotions, either brought on by fright or grief, can trigger our body's fight-or-flight response, and for some, this can cause an unhealthy surge of adrenaline.
Dr. Marc Gillinov; Cardiovascular Surgeon at Cleveland Clinic>>: "If a person is at risk for a heart attack or stroke, some sort of stimulus that's truly frightening could actually trigger such an event."
Rhiannon Walker; Reporting>>: Doctor Gillinov went on to say that there is a condition that can occur called "stress cardiomyopathy", in which people are practically scared to death.
He says this can occur in otherwise healthy people who don't have heart problems or a history of stroke.
When they have a sudden emotional response like fright, they can become very sick.
Doctor Gillinov says that fortunately, most people make a full recovery with no lasting effects.
He also states that this condition is very rare, and that most folks can be frightened or surprised with no issues at all.
For people who do have heart health problems, he warns it is best to play it safe.
Dr. Marc Gillinov; Cardiovascular Surgeon at Cleveland Clinic>>: "The average person need not be scared of being frightened to death. That's really uncommon, however, the person who's got heart failure, serious heart disease, has had heart attacks and strokes, should try to avoid these sorts of situations, maybe don't go to a haunted house on Halloween."
Rhiannon Walker; Reporting>>: Doctor Gillinov also warns it is important to not confuse 'stress cardiomyopathy' with sudden cardiac arrest, as sudden cardiac arrest typically results from abnormal heart rhythm, not from being frightened.
For this week's Health Report. I'm Rhiannon Walker.