By Andy Merrett
Feb 21, 2006
Reality of dying from a broken heart
The ‘widower effect’, where a husband and wife die within a very short time of one another, has been known of since it was first described in 1848.
Yet a new study of over half-a-million older couples in the United States suggests that the same sorts of effects are apparent when a spouse falls ill.
The study was carried out over nine years found that the greatest risk to the well partner was within 30 days of a spouse entering hospital. This risk remains high for two years.
It is most prevalent in ailments that affect the mind or physical body.
The study did not look at cause of death, but experts attribute the increased risk to factors such as stress, and the well partner being deprived of the spouse’s social, emotional and financial support.
The research concludes that doctors should pay as much attention to the well partner as to the ill one.
Read the full article: Study: Ill spouse can hasten death