Former president George H.W. Bush is home from the hospital, and — regardless of how you feel about his politics — you have to feel for the guy.
The 93-year-old just lost his wife of 73 years, former first lady Barbara Bush, who died last month in Texas.
That’s literally a lifetime together!
The day they were married, FDR was president… America had 48 states… and looking for a “safe space” meant ducking German or Japanese bombs in WWII combat zones.
Bush was hospitalized for a blood infection right after the funeral… but could there also be something else going on?
You’ve heard of folks who’ve died of a broken heart, and that’s not just a figure of speech.
New research confirms that it’s the real deal – and when your own pals are suddenly alone and in Bush’s situation, you need to look out for them.
In the six months after the death of a spouse, your risk of dying jumps by 41 percent, and more than half of that risk comes from heart disease.
If that were the only key fact in the study, you could chalk it up as “interesting” (but maybe not conclusive), since folks who lose a spouse tend to be older to begin with.
And let’s face it: Age is the biggest risk factor for death of all!
But that’s not all the study found.
The researchers also looked at heart rate variability in folks in the months after losing a spouse.
That variability is a key marker of how your heart is doing right now. The higher it is, the stronger your heart and the better able it is to bounce back from stress.
But just when you need it most… when you’re facing the unbelievable stress of losing your better half… it drops like a rock. In the study, it plunged by an average of 47 percent in new widows and widowers.
Yes, the proof is in the numbers: a literal broken heart!
The bereaved folks also had higher levels of inflammation and, as you’d imagine, depression, both of which are risk factors for heart struggles and other health problems.
You might think that there’s nothing you can do about this if and when it happens.
To some extent, it’s true. There’s nothing YOU can do about it when it happens to YOU.
That’s why it’s critical to have a great support system of friends and loved ones who can look out for you in these moments.
Make sure that there are people who will be there for you when you need them and, of course, that you’ll be there for them.