Why do you get a lump in your throat when you’re sad?

Whether it’s the result of sorrow, stress or anger, before the tears start to flow, you might find yourself with a lump in your throat. Why? It’s a chain reaction unleashed by the body. If an animal fears for its life, it produces huge amounts of adrenaline – and flees. Humans react in a similar way. The heart pumps blood through the veins at a high pressure and the breathing quickens. Due to the increased flow of oxygen, the larynx expands. If you want to swallow, the epiglottis attempts to close. However, the muscles fight back against it because they are holding open the epiglottis in response to the crying. So, even though there is no real lump in the throat, the enormous muscular tension makes it feel that way.

Quick fact

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