The physiological damage loneliness can bring can be reflected by the tragic, self-inflicted deaths of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade. But a new study has found that social isolation can physically harm your heart, not just your spirit.
According to the findings unveiled over the weekend at the European Society of Cardiology’s nursing conference, loneliness can physically harm the heart. Researchers at Copenhagen University Hospital found that lonely people are more likely to die from a heart condition.
Loneliness is more common today than ever before, and more people live alone,
senior researcher Dr. Anne Vinggaard Christensen said.
The study involved 13,463 heart disease patients, with diagnoses ranging from heart failure and ischaemic heart disease to arrhythmia and valve disease. Scientists found that women who had been diagnosed with heart disease were twice more likely to die prematurely if they were lonely than female patients who weren’t lonely.
Loneliness Can Make You Depressed, Anxious, and ill
Male heart disease patients had an almost twofold risk of dying prematurely because of social isolation when compared to their peers who had strong social support.
Lonely study participants were three times more likely to feel depressed and anxious than those who didn’t feel lonely. Also, those patients reported a lower quality of life than patients who were not socially isolated.
Researchers underlined that there is a difference between those who live alone and people who feel lonely. People that live alone do not necessarily feel lonely, while many people who share their home with somebody else may feel lonely.
Vinggaard Christensen underlined that social isolation is a “strong” risk factor for early death, lower quality of life, and higher risk of developing mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety.
Also, feeling lonely was more strongly associated with a higher risk of heart disease than simply living alone.
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