Study finds death of husband or wife increases risk of death for surviving spouse

(WXYZ) - Can you really die of a broken heart? Researchers put that question to the test.

According to a study conducted at Harvard School of Public Health, losing a spouse does increase a person's chance of death, especially within the first few months.

Researchers studied more than 12,000 couples who were married in 1998 and follow them for 10 years.

They found people who had lost a spouse were 66 percent more likely to die themselves within three months of their spouse's death.

Researchers say it didn't make a difference whether the surviving spouse was a man or woman.

They pointed out their research only included couples in their fifties, so results could differ for people who are married earlier or later in life.

This study did not examine why the risk of death increases if a spouse passes away, but experts think it could be related to increased stress on the body and drastic changes in lifestyle.

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