2016 was a year in which we lost many eminent personalities we loved and adored. Carrie Fisher was one of the most prominent names among them. Fisher, born to the celebrity couple Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, passed away at her age 60 due to a heart condition. And one day later Debbie Reynolds, once a Hollywood sweetheart, passed away from a stroke.
It is not the first time we see someone passing away very soon after they lost someone dear to them, like a child, partner, parent or a sibling. More often we portray it as an unfortunate coincidence. But, more and more researches done in the last few years now point out to the fact that they are related. And this phenomenon, now termed Maternal Bereavement Effect explains why such tragedies occur.
The Cascading Effect of stress on body We often fail to understand the effect of grief on the human body. Dr. Ilan Wittstein, a cardiologist at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, speaking to New York Magazine explains how grief can affect one’s physical health. He explains that grief increases blood pressure and the release of stress hormones, which in turn lead to conditions like heart attack and stroke.
The Broken Heart Syndrome Shocking news, such as learning of the unexpected death of a loved one, has been known to cause catastrophic events, such as a heart attack. Researchers at Johns Hopkins have discovered that sudden emotional stress can also result in severe weakening of heart muscles. This condition is termed as Broken Heart Syndrome. This is a result of days-long surge in adrenalin (epinephrine) and other stress hormones that temporarily “stun” the heart. This condition along with the increased blood pressure can lead to heart attacks and stroke, that may eventually lead to once death.
Additionally, numerous studies have also found out that child loss was associated with slightly increased the risk of all-cause and circulatory mortality in parents, and concur with a considerable increase in parental mortality during a short period after child loss.
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