It’s Possible to Be Scared to Death


Sometimes it’s fun to take a look at the science behind some common English idioms — people really do become more suspicious when they smell something fishy, for example, and it apparently is possible to become “scared to death,” according to the guys at AsapSCIENCE, who have a new video on the sometimes fatal damage that extreme stress can cause on the human heart.

When you’re frightened, your body releases a surge of adrenaline, speeding up your heart rate, a physiological reaction to stress we call the fight or flight response. But when the scare is especially strong, or the heart especially weak, the person’s heart can become overwhelmed and unable to keep up with the adrenaline-triggered increase in heart rate, which could cause the heart to stop entirely. It’s very rare, however, that this happens in people with healthy hearts, so no need to be scared if you’re in good health.