Social Question

MrGrimm888's avatar

Can you die from a 'broken heart?'?

Asked by MrGrimm888 (18835points) July 9th, 2016

Sadly, a friend of mine recently had a pretty shitty day.

He and his girlfriend for many years, were hiking with their two dogs (one 8mos old, the other around 9 yrs) when the youngest dog suddenly collapsed. It died soon after of heat stroke…
(Where we live it’s very hot and humid.Heatstroke is sadly a common cause of death for not just animals other than human. )
This couple could easily be called ‘dog parents’ as they had no children ,but they LOVED their dogs. Especially the puppy who died.
My friend’s girlfriend was found dead, that same night. Cause of death was heart attack….(Yes , this guy’s ‘son’ and ‘wife’ both passed in the same 9 hrs….

The opinion of my friends and I is that the dog’s death hurt her so bad she died…

I’ve felt heart ache before , like just being ‘heartbroken,’ and it was catastrophic. (Can’t imagine how my friend makes it now…)She was in her early 30’s when she died.
I know of many old couples , that when one of them died, the other soon died, without changes (at least known ) to their health. When my grandfather died, my grandmother slowly eroded away and died…

Anyone have a story where something similar happened?

Can you die from a stressful event?

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11 Answers

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

In a way, yes. It’s called “Failure to Thrive.” Neglected babies and children often die due to lack of love and affection even though they have food and water available to them. The elderly who’ve lost long-term spouses sometimes just lie down and die soon after their loved one passes. 19th century literature is full of spurned young and middle-aged lovers dying from it, but as a nurse, I’ve really not seen anything like it outside of the age groups mentioned above. I’ve seen an awful lot of love-sick young people, though.

Strauss's avatar

So a broken heart can be physical and literal as well as emotional and metaphor.

janbb's avatar

That’s such a sad story!

zenvelo's avatar

There was a story in the paper of a husband and wife married 60 years, she finally died of Alzheimer’s 9 years after being diagnosed. He had cared for her to the end. He called all his kids to give them the news, told his daughter he was going to bed and would make arrangements in the morning. They found him the next morning, he had died of a heart attack three steps from where he had hung up the phone.

Extreme loss of a dear loved one can cause heart pains and heart attacks.

Mariah's avatar

Jesus that’s awful. Thoughts are with your friend.

I would say suicide is the definition of “dying of a broken heart.”

Coloma's avatar

Yes, very sad story.
I think the stress brought on by grief could send a not very strong heart over the edge. Otherwise, it is what @Espiritus_Corvus said, failure to thrive, losing the will to live.

JLeslie's avatar

Yes. @Rarebear has the link above.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Yes. Kudos to rarebear. The ‘rare’, perfect answer.
Mariah, interesting to compare it to suicide. I suppose I would agree, if the person’s motivation for suicide is emotionally related. But I guess all suicide has emotional relation. When I was younger I contemplated killing myself after a bad break up. I got caught trying to OD on pills by my father. He just happened to be up late getting a drink of water. I had a note and all. If he hadn’t been thirsty at 2 AM I guess I’d be dead… Instead I was rushed to the ER. Administered apomorphine (vomit inducing drug.) And I then had plenty of distraction from my emotional pain, because I threw up for like 3 hrs. I’ve never been so miserable…. Never tried it again. I wish it never happened. But at the time, I just couldn’t feel so hurt anymore. I can empathize with people who commit suicide. But at this point, life is gonna have to kill me. I’m not going out without a fight.I’m not going to let circumstances I have no control over in a relationship do it. That attempt was….About 17 yrs ago.
I’m a big , strong man, but it is interesting that although I deal with physical pain with ease, emotional pain can lay me low, hard… If a chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link, then maybe I’m not so strong…

Coloma's avatar

Considering all the stress, unhappiness and emotional strain I have endured this last 3 years after being slam dunked in the recession, well, my 56 yr. heart must be pretty damn strong. haha

MrGrimm888's avatar

Hang in there Coloma.

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