Update 12/28; 9:14 p.m.: Debbie Reynolds died Wednesday evening after being rushed to the hospital after apparently suffering a stroke, the family announced. Her daughter Carrie Fisher had died the day before. Reynolds was 84.
Original story: Debbie Reynolds, the mother of the late Carrie Fisher, who was best known for her role as Princess Leia in Star Wars, was rushed to the ER a day after her daughter’s heart attack death. Reynolds reportedly suffered a stroke while planning Fisher’s funeral arrangements with her son Todd in Beverly Hills, according to TMZ. Reynold’s hospitalization spotlighted questions about the toll that grief takes on the body, and whether stress can cause a stroke.
The iconic Hollywood star has reportedly been distraught since Fisher’s cardiac emergency on a United flight from London to Los Angeles on Friday. On Christmas Day, the 84-year-old actress took to social media, and tweeted:
Reynolds’ stroke may have possibly been induced by the loss of her daughter and the emotional stress. The loss of a spouse or partner has been previously linked with the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke. Harvard researchers believe emotional stress can wreak havoc with the sympathetic nervous system, and that can lead to cardiovascular complications. The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for priming the body’s fight-or-flight response.
Keep in mind, while the association between bereavement and cardiovascular issues is between spouses or partners, it’s possible the emotional stress brought on by Fisher’s death led to Reynolds’ stroke. Blood pressure, heart rate, and blood clotting are susceptible to changes brought on by stress.
Read More: Carrie Fisher’s Heart Attack Death Raises Questions On Effects
Other research reported in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke, has found chronic stress in life, increases the risk of older people having a stroke or a transient ischemic attack — a stroke that lasts only a few minutes. Stress and negative emotions can have more adverse effects on the body.
The two were photographed at the SAG Awards back in January 2015.
Reynolds and Fisher’s relationship hasn’t been the best of mother-daughter bonds. Reynolds admitted in an interview with People :
“It’s very hard when your child doesn’t want to talk to you and you want to talk to them, and you want to touch them, you want to hold them,” said Reynolds. “It was a total estrangement. She didn’t talk to me for probably 10 years. So that was the most difficult time of all. Very painful, very heartbreaking.”
But the two appeared to have become close in recent years.
While social and family connections are good for your health, losing someone close to you brings a special kind of pain — emotional and physical as well.
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