Loneliness is a very complex subject. Some can’t even imagine how detrimental to your health, both emotional and physical, loneliness can be, while others, sure that they know, barely scratch the surface. In fact, loneliness is even more dangerous than even experts could imagine, as they found out in a recent study.
As it was revealed in a study published in the journal Heart, British researchers warn that loneliness greatly increases the risk of cardiovascular accidents. These accidents include heart attacks and strokes, as well as angina, and pretty much all other potentially fatal consequences of an unhealthy cardiovascular system.
According to the team of British researchers led by Nicole Valtorta from the University of New York, the effects of loneliness and social isolation on the human cardiovascular system are comparable to those of intense stress, anxiety, and job dissatisfaction. In fact, they can lead to a whopping thirty percent higher chances of developing coronary artery disease and having a stroke.
For the study, in fact a large meta-analysis, the team looked at the results of 23 previous studies. The final sample consisted of more than 180,000 adults, 3,000 of which suffered from strokes, and 4,600 of which suffered from angina, heart attacks, or had a fatal cardiac event.
The team was surprised by the findings, which showed that social isolation and loneliness was linked to a 32 percent greater risk of experiencing a stroke, and to a 29 percent greater risk of suffering a heart or angina attack. This greatly raises concerns regarding the world’s outrageous amount of lonely people, to which I’ll get in a while.
Before that, however, there is a limitation to the study despite its large scale implications and sample. Because it was a meta-analysis, no more information other than what was in the original study could be found on the subjects, so instead of showing a cause and effect relationship, the study only shows a link between loneliness and unfortunate cardiovascular incidents.
According to the United Kingdom’s Local Government Association, just in the UK there are over one million people aged 65 and older that are suffering from intense loneliness. That is about ten to thirteen percent of the UK’s elderly population, so we are left to wonder about the situation of the elderly all over the world.
But the elderly are definitely not the only ones to be at great risk from the conditions, as another equivalent would be that crippling loneliness and social isolation can be more harmful than smoking fifteen cigarettes a day.
The team couldn’t really do anything other than raising awareness to the subject in the hopes that somebody else comes up with a solution to counter this increasingly dangerous issue. But seeing the state of dissention in which the world currently finds itself, it’s safe to assume that helping the lonely isn’t anyone’s priority.
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