Debbie Reynolds passed away only a day after her daughter, Star Wars’ actor Carrie Fisher, died of a heart attack, and many said that grief was likely to play a role in what happened. Indeed, studies have found that losing a child resulted in increased risk of death for bereaved parents.
“The considerable increased parental mortality during a short period after child loss support the involvement of pathways related to psychological stress” said an Israeli study by the American College of Epidemiology.
The study compared 5,000 bereaved parents to over 70,000 non-bereaved parents. It found that bereaved parents have an increased risk of death in the first three years following a child’s death, with a higher risk for mothers.
Another study found that a mother’s chance of dying went up a shocking 326 per cent in the two years following a child’s death.
Grief can lead to what is commonly known as the broken heart syndrome, where loss and stress can actually cause heart muscles to weaken. This can be a risk factor to those who already have preliminary heart disease, like Debbie Reynolds.
A Swedish study said that a mother’s mortality risk was the most when the death was unnatural and when the child was a minor.
Grief can lead to what is commonly known as the broken heart syndrome, where loss and stress can actually cause heart muscles to weaken.
Women are more likely to suffer from broken heart syndrome, especially those who are past menopause.
So when people talk about heartache, take them seriously because they aren’t just using a figure of speech!