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Can a Broken Heart Cause Death?

Published January 17, 2017 by Brady Cobin Law Group, PLLC

The passing of Debbie Reynolds one day after her daughter’s death leads to more speculation on the impact of a broken heart.

It can actually happen, according to FOX News in “Debbie Reynolds’ death: Can you die of a broken heart?” Broken Heart Syndrome does exist.

The death of Debbie Reynolds, only one day after the death of her daughter, has quickly been attributed to this phenomenon. However, some people doubt whether there is any such thing in reality or if it is just a common myth.

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.

Reference: FOX News (Dec. 30, 2016) “Debbie Reynolds’ death: Can you die of a broken heart?

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