Loneliness and social isolation in general, is something that can adversely affect our lives and lead to premature death.
People who are lonely and isolated may face a higher risk of heart disease and stroke, researchers report.
According to HealthDay Reporter, WebMD, social isolation raised that risk by about 30 percent, exerting the same level of influence on heart health as risk factors such as anxiety and job stress, the British review found.
The AWAKE magazine published by a religious organisation in its article of April 15, 2015 says researchers who analyzed the results of 148 studies concluded that low social interaction is a predictor of early death and that as a risk factor, it is “twice as harmful as obesity” and “equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.”
A research fellow in the department of health sciences at the University of York, Nicole Valtorta, while emphasising the need to pay more than the usual attention to loneliness said, “Addressing loneliness and social isolation could have an important role in the prevention of two of the leading causes of ill health and mortality worldwide.”
“We take risk factors like obesity and physical inactivity for granted, whereas we do not yet with social isolation and loneliness, adding that the data from our study support us taking it seriously.”
But this analysis could not prove that loneliness and social isolation caused heart problems or strokes, only that an association existed, she added.
However, Valtota said, “if we put the study findings into context, what we found is comparable in size to the effect of other psychosocial risk factors such as anxiety and job strain. Efforts to prevent heart disease and stroke could benefit from taking social isolation and loneliness into account.”
The report was published online April 19 in the journal Heart.
The researchers analyzed data from 23 previously published studies that, in total, included over 180,000 adults, more than 4,600 of whom had heart attacks, angina or died and more than 3,000 who had suffered strokes.
The result from the pooled data showed that loneliness and social isolation were associated with a 29 percent increased risk of heart attack or angina attack and a 32 percent increased risk of stroke.
These findings suggest that loneliness and social isolation need to be taken seriously.
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