Simplified: It's the season of haunts and horrors, but have you ever wondered if those spooks have any impact on your health? Sanford Cardiologist Dr. Tom Stys chatted with Sioux Falls Simplified to talk about what happens physiologically when you get scared.

Why it matters

  • The phrase "scared to death" is pretty extreme, but Stys said too much stress can have an impact on your cardiovascular system. That said, your body is very good at tolerating a scary or stressful situation when you know it's coming.
  • Feeling scared can cause your body to feel unexplained anxiety, heart palpitations, sweatiness and excitement. That adrenaline is felt more when you're surprised, but the same sensations can happen even with a slow-build fear.
  • So is being scared bad for your health? It's all about the context. If you've got a preexisting heart condition, you'll want to be careful about unexpected surprise scares. But, on the flip side, sometimes being spooked may actually be good for your health.
"Being scared on Halloween is a very important kind of social thing for us to do and a good opportunity to laugh," Stys said. "That's actually a good thing from a cardiovascular perspective."