Can You Die of a Broken Heart?
The researchers found that if a spouse is hospitalized, the risk of death for a man increases by 22 percent, while the risk for the woman increases by 16 percent.
They also found that the period of greatest risk is over the short run, within 30 days of a spouse either going into hospital or dying.
If the wife dies, the risk of the husband dying in the following month is increased by 53 percent. If a husband dies, the wife's corresponding risk of death rises by 61 percent.
The study, published in this month's New England Journal of Medicine, also concluded that certain illnesses can have more harmful effects on the well-being of the partner.
If a wife requires treatment for colon cancer, for example, there is almost no effect on the husband's subsequent mortality.
But if the wife has heart disease, the risk of death for the husband increases by 12 percent.
Conversely, if the husband is in hospital for psychiatric disease, the wife's risk of death is 32 percent higher.
And if the husband is in hospital for dementia, the likelihood of his wife dying is increased by 28 percent.
Professor Christakis said, "Spousal illness may impose stress on a partner or deprive a partner of social, emotional, economic or other practical support."
Source: Source: Daily Mail; London (UK). Powered by Yellowbrix.