Science Weighs in On Whether or Not It’s Actually Possible to Die of a Broken Heart

Most of us have probably seen The Notebook movie and one of its last scenes where the couple died side-by-side together. One couldn’t go on without the other.

It is a reminder of how two hearts can really beat for one another, and with the recent passing of George HW Bush, many are observing his death as a case of broken heart syndrome. Mrs. Bush died this past spring, and he followed only 8 months later.

So, is there any science to back up the notion that one can die from a broken heart? Yes! Doctors have found that couples who have been together for a long time may eventually find their hearts beating in sync. Further, the stress of losing a loved one – at any age – can cause the heart to quit.

The American Heart Association has written about a form of cardiomyopathy brought on by stress. It affects women more often than men, and can occur after a death, break-up, divorce, or another emotional trauma.

Stress can induce chest pains and cause one part of the heart to become enlarged, blocking how effectively it can pump blood. It may feel like someone is having a heart attack, but it is the surge of stress hormones that causes heart deficiencies.

Symptoms are similar to a heart attack with chest pain and shortness of breath being common. If caught in time, broken heart syndrome can be treated. In the cases where the heart beats irregularly and stops pumping blood, it can be fatal. Simply, the heart gives up.

You may know from your own experience what it feels like to have your heart broken and how it caused physical pain. You may also know a couple who passed away not too far apart from one another, a symbol of close they were in life. Love can do this and the science backs it up.

Do you believe this happened to the Bushes? Are you familiar with anyone who may have died from a broken heart?