Monday 23 January 2017

Loneliness makes you more likely to have a stroke

Ella Pickover

Published 20/04/2016 | 02:30

Picture posed. Thinkstock Images
Picture posed. Thinkstock Images

Being lonely and socially isolated can increase a person's risk of heart disease or stroke, new research suggests.

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The effect loneliness has on the heart is similar to that seen in people who suffer anxiety or have stressful jobs, experts found.

Researchers from the University of York, the University of Liverpool and Newcastle University reviewed evidence on the impact loneliness has on heart disease and stroke risk.

They examined 23 relevant studies, involving more than 181,000 adults, where 4,628 coronary heart disease and 3,002 stroke "events" were recorded.

After analysing the data, they found loneliness and isolation were associated with a 29pc rise in risk for coronary heart disease and a 32pc rise in risk of stroke.

"We found an association between poor social relationships and 'incident cardiovascular disease' comparable in size to other recognised psychosocial risk factors, such as anxiety and job strain," the authors wrote in the journal 'Heart'.

"Our findings indicate that efforts to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke could benefit from taking both loneliness and social isolation into account.

"Tackling loneliness and isolation may be a valuable addition to coronary heart disease and stroke prevention strategies. Health practitioners have an important role to play in acknowledging the importance of social relations to their patients."

Previous research has already linked loneliness and social isolation to premature death.

Irish Independent

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