Can Airline Stress Kill You?

flyingLast week after some major airline snafus, a woman in India died from what doctors declared a "stress-induced heart attack."

Reports say the 40-year-old maid, Beebi Lumada, lost her passport, missed a connecting flight, and was forced to spend five nights in Oman's Muscat airport.

Witnesses say she was extremely stressed during the ordeal and feared she would be stuck there indefinitely.

It's horrifying to imagine being stuck in such a situation without the means to help yourself, but for it to kill you? Can that really happen?


Dr. Marc Tinsley, a health, fitness, and wellness expert, says while it's unlikely a completely healthy heart would be affected in five days' time, if she was regularly stressed, then it could have made her more vulnerable.

"Stress is very powerful but it's also relative," he said. "What one person finds stressful may not be viewed the same way by another person. This demonstrates how important it is to manage stress effectively."

But how do we know if we're too stressed?

Dr. Tinsley said our bodies often provide indicators through pulse, blood pressure, and respiration rate. Loss of sleep and loss of appetite, nausea, and cold can all be symptoms of stress. Diarrhea and constipation are also often caused by stress.

But often it's a silent attack on our health. Stress has been called America's "number one health problem."

According to the American Institute for Stress, as many as 75 to 90 percent of doctor visits can be attributed to stress.

How can we manage our day-to-day stress so that when we are faced with major stresses, we don't fall over dead?

While some people may need more serious help in the form of medication or therapy, here's a list of things you can try on your own that can help keep stress at bay:

Aerobic exercise




Visual imagery

Deep-breathing techniques

Listing to soothing music


Spending time with friends

Writing in a journal

What stress-management techniques do you use?

Image via Silenus81/Flickr

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