Many are asking if you really can die from a broken heart, following the death of movie star Debbie Reynolds, just one day after her daughter, Carrie Fisher.

Cardiologist Dr. Frank Smart with LSU Health New Orleans says broken heart syndrome is more common than you might think. He says the emotion that goes with losing someone causes the body to produce a lot 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,” Smart said.

Smart says medicine doesn’t entirely understand how grief and hope affect people’s lives, but doctors can prescribe preventative treatments.

“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,” Smart said.

Smart says for some, there’s a lot of pressure to remain calm and collected during stressful times, which can increase the risk for a heart attack. He says it’s best for people to try to cope with grief in their own ways.

“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,” Smart said.