Can you actually be scared to death?

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Courtesy: (WFLA 8 On Your Side Staff)

Halloween can be a frightening time with all the haunted houses, scary movies and spooky costumes. But can you actually be scared to death?

According to Dr. Eugene Storozynsky, a cardiologist in upstate New York, the answer is yes.

An article published by the University of Rochester Medical Center says people can experience a scare that triggers adrenaline that could cause their heart to beat irregularly or even stop.

Research shows that’s more likely to happen to people with pre-existing heart conditions or those who are prone to irregular heartbeats.

So while adrenaline is helpful in stressful situations, URMC doctors say too much of it can backfire.

“Too much adrenaline can be toxic leading to irregular heart rhythms and, if it becomes overwhelming, causing the heart to stop beating,” Dr. Storozynsky explains.

But it’s not only fear that can lead to harmful levels of adrenaline. Dr. Storozynsky says any overwhelming emotions, whether it’s positive or negative, can be deadly. He says a study out of Germany found that there was an increase of sudden cardiac deaths the day of a World Cup game.

So what do doctors suggest doing to prevent being scared to death?

“You may consider avoiding the over-the-top haunted house. And if you suffer with heart disease, you especially may want to skip the tricks and go directly for the treats,” Dr. Storozynsky writes. “The healthy ones, of course.”

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