Did Debbie Reynolds Die from a Broken Heart?

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Debbie Reynolds: Can a Broken Heart Really Kill You?

Many of us read about and were saddened to hear that Carrie Fischer had passed away prematurely from a heart attack. Just as tragic was the news that her 84 year old mother, the famous Debbie Reynolds, died the very next day. Sadly, we’ve heard of stories like these before where the timing sure seems like there is a relationship to the insurmountable grief and their death.

I started to look into it and was surprised to read about Stress Induced Cardio Myopathy, also referred to as the broken heart syndrome. This is a syndrome recognized by the American Heart Association which, for me, certainly adds validity. Basically, stress induced cardio myopathy looks and feels like a heart attack but patients with stress induced cardiomyopathy don’t have blocked arteries which is the most common reason for a heart attack. Death is rare but it does happen, perhaps in the case of Debbie Reynolds. Experts aren’t clear on the science behind why this happens but it’s thought that stress hormones such as adrenaline stuns the heart into abnormal activity.

But what about the spiritual or emotional aspect of a broken heart and death. It’s been reported that before dying Debbie said, “I want to be with Carrie” which to me implies there was some choice on her part in dying. You hear sometimes about elderly folks dying shortly after their spouse of several decades passes away.

it’s my unscientific opinion that one’s mental health is too often overlooked in all aspects of life but especially in the case of mental anguish and severe grief. Not only does stress takes it’s toll on our bodies in serious ways but depression might cause people to not take care of themselves in the usual way. They may abandon exercise routines, eating properly may fall to the wayside causing malnourishment. This might be what people refer to as “giving up”, sort of like they are throwing in the towel. Perhaps the grief is too intense.

However, millions of people survive the death of their loved ones but we generally don’t hear about these stories because they aren’t as romantic or touching or mysterious. Death from stress induced cardiomyopathy is very rare.

I guess in the final analysis, there is no distinct answer whether a broken heart can kill us. I don’t think mental anguish and grief generally directly cause one’s death but it certainly can impact us on serious ways depending on existing conditions and circumstances.

Either way, please visit the American Heart Association at www.heart.org to learn more about heart health..

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