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Video: Loneliness Brings Death Closer To Cardiovascular Problems
Loneliness brings death closer to cardiovascular problems
Patients with cardiovascular disease who feel lonely are at increased risk of dying within a year of being discharged from hospital.
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Patients with cardiovascular disease who feel lonely are at increased risk of dying within a year of being discharged from hospital. This is evidenced by the results of a Danish study published online in Heart.
According to previous studies, loneliness and poor social support are associated with an increased likelihood of developing coronary heart disease and subsequent death. To find out if feelings of loneliness and living alone affect other types of cardiovascular diseases, scientists monitored the health of patients with coronary heart disease, arrhythmias, heart failure or heart disease for a year.
After being discharged from the cardiology center, 13,443 people completed questionnaires on physical health, psychological well-being, quality of life and health behavior (smoking, alcohol consumption, and frequency of prescribed medication), as well as levels of anxiety and depression.
It found that people who felt lonely were nearly three times more likely to experience anxiety and depression, and reported significantly lower quality of life than those who did not feel lonely.
A year later, the researchers used data from the national registry to check the cardiovascular health of patients and find out the number of deaths. They found that feelings of loneliness, regardless of diagnosis, were associated with significantly poorer physical health.
After adjusting for factors that could potentially influence (such as health behavior), women who feel lonely were almost three times more likely to die from any cause, and men more than twice as likely.
Men had a higher (39%) risk of worsening cardiovascular health. Previous studies have shown that women have a wider social circle than men. Therefore, due to separation, divorce or the death of a partner, men find themselves in a more vulnerable position.
No connection was found between being separated and feeling alone. What's more, the risk of anxiety and depression was higher in those who lived with other people.
The observational nature of the study does not allow establishing a causal relationship. It is not clear which first arose - illness or feeling of loneliness.
“However, the results are in line with previous studies showing that loneliness is associated with changes in cardiovascular, neuroendocrine and immune function, as well as unhealthy lifestyle choices that negatively impact health. There are signs that the burden of loneliness and social isolation is growing,”the researchers noted.
The researchers believe loneliness should be a public health priority because the health consequences are equivalent to those associated with severe obesity.
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