You have probably heard someone suggest that another person they know passed away from a broken heart. When someone passes away soon after the death of a loved one, such as a spouse or child, it is common to say that the death was caused by a broken heart.
The death of Debbie Reynolds, only one day after the death of her daughter, has quickly been attributed to the phenomenon. However, some people doubt whether there is any such thing in reality or if it is just a common myth.
It can actually happen, according to FOX News in "Debbie Reynolds' death: Can you die of a broken heart?"
After an acute stressor, such as the death of a loved one, it is possible for part of a person's heart to become enlarged and to stop pumping properly. The rest of the heart will continue to function normally and might compensate for the enlarged portion by working harder. This can lead to heart attacks or strokes, which can cause death.
The phenomenon is known as Broken Heart Syndrome, although there is also a Latin name that textbooks use.
The syndrome normally only occurs in people who have previously had some sort of heart difficulty. Since that includes many elderly people, whether they are aware of it or not, it is important for estate attorneys, elder law advocates and family members to be aware of the syndrome.
Make sure that an elderly person who has lost a loved one has the care and support they need, so they do not suffer from broken heart syndrome.
Reference: FOX News (Dec. 30, 2016) "Debbie Reynolds' death: Can you die of a broken heart?"