Risk of cardiovascular disease enhanced with social isolation, loneliness


eMediNexus    02 February 2023

Studies have demonstrated that social isolation and loneliness are important risk factors for cardiovascular disease, but little is known regarding the precise association between these risk factors and heart failure.


According to a recent study published in JACC: Heart Failure, social isolation and loneliness are associated with higher odds of developing heart failure, but whether or not a person feels lonely affects risk more than whether or not they are alone.


Researchers examined data from the UK Biobank study, which tracked the health outcomes over 12 years using self-reported questionnaires to gauge psychosocial characteristics, including social isolation and loneliness. Over 400,000 middle-aged and elderly persons were evaluated for the study.


Researchers found that loneliness and social isolation raised the chance of hospitalization or death from heart failure by 15% to 20%. They also discovered that social isolation was simply a risk factor in the absence of loneliness. In other words, loneliness was more significant if a person was also socially isolated. Even when the individual was not socially isolated, loneliness increased the risk. Men were more likely to experience loneliness and social isolation, and they were also more likely to engage in unhealthy habits and conditions like smoking and being overweight.


These findings imply that loneliness is more prevalent in those who are hostile or have stressful social relationships; loneliness is a more potent psychological stressor than social isolation. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought attention to the effects of social isolation and loneliness on many health outcomes, making the findings all the more timely.


(Source: https://theprint.in/health/study-social-isolation-loneliness-linked-to-risk-of-cardiovascular-disease/1349157/)

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