Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Loneliness: The new (old) smoking?
The scourge of loneliness has been with us since time immemorial, but only in recent years has its toll on human health gained appreciation. New research shows that feeling lonely or socially isolated bumps up a person's average risk for coronary heart disease and stroke -- two of the developed world's most prolific killers -- by 50%. As a risk factor for heart attack, clogged arteries or stroke, those statistics put loneliness on a par with light smoking, anxiety and occupational stress. And they make social isolation a more powerful predictor of such vascular diseases than are either high blood pressure or obesity. Moreover, the study found, the toxic effects of loneliness strike men and women equally, researchers found. Added to research linking loneliness to higher rates of cognitive decline and poor immune system function, loneliness begins to look like a blight not just on society but on our collective well-being. http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-loneliness-heart-risk-smoking-20160419-story.html