Grief is a very powerful emotion. In fact, grief can be so powerful that it can actually prove to be fatal in its own right. The past few days have brought about many discussions concerning the physical condition that is known as a broken heart. It's a real thing and it can really be fatal.

A lot of the broken heart conversation was spurred by the recent death of Debbie Reynolds just one day after the passing of her daughter, actress Carrie Fisher. Reynolds expressed her extreme sadness and grief via social media and through family spokesmen. While she did have other documented health problems the emotional strain and physical conditions brought on by that strain could have actually been a catalyst in her passing.

Cardiologist Dr. Frank Smart with LSU Health New Orleans told the Louisiana Radio Network what happens when we experience extreme periods of grief. He said the emotion that goes along with grieving causes the body to react by producing an abundance of adrenaline.

That can actually increase the chances that blood vessels are going to develop a clot in them. It can increase the risk of having a heart attack and can actually cause a heart attack even if you don’t have any blocked arteries.

While the medical community has not established how grief and the opposite emotion of hope really affect the body. They have developed treatment protocols that could aid patients in making it through this very tough times.

If they’ve ever had what would be broken heart syndrome that you don’t necessarily die from but caused some heart damage, we do put those people on beta blockers and leave them on them for life.

What does the doctor recommend for persons who are going through times of extreme grief? It's basically what your Mom always told you, just let it out.

The overall best thing you can do is try to get through the grieving process in stages like it’s supposed to be, as opposed to hold it in and try to remain strong for people.

We just have to remember that grieving is a process. It does take time for a broken heart to heal. While the pains of missing a loved one never really go away, over time we all seem to make our way through it by living one day at a time.

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