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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The death of Debbie Reynolds just one day after the death of her daughter, Carrie Fisher, raises the question, can a person really die from a broken heart?

Reynold’s son says his sister’s death was too much for his mother and that he believes she suffered a stroke.

Let’s takes a closer look at the very real phenomenon called “Broken Heart Syndrome.”

Reynold’s son Todd Fisher told E! Online that his mother was under a lot of emotion and stress from the loss of her daughter and it’s pretty much what triggered this event.

The medical term for broken heart syndrome is stress cardiomyopathy and it has to do with stress hormones such as adrenaline.

“So in an extremely stressful, especially a sudden stressful state, there is a large amount of release of these hormones and there is a possible toxicity that they can pose to the heart muscle rendering it weak,” said UH Cleveland Medical Center Cardiologist Dr. Dina Sparano.

Stress brought on by grief or anxiety can lead to sudden intense chest pain. The symptoms can be similar to a heart attack and can lead to heart failure. It’s much more common in women than men. It typically occurs in women over age 50.

“Patients often present very ill and very suddenly and often require a lot of support to get them through the syndrome,” said Sparano.

But doctors add most people who suffer from broken heart syndrome go on to make a full recovery.

Doctors say it’s not just sudden emotional stress that can trigger broken heart syndrome, intense physical stress can also cause it.


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