Lonely People Have a Double Risk Of Dying From Heart Disease, Researchers Say

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Loneliness can kill you, says new research. A study published last month showed that you could die of a broken heart, but it seems that even loneliness can affect our cardiovascular health.

A study presented in Dublin on 9 June shows that the feeling of loneliness can lead to premature death. Danish researchers showed that it could double the risk of early death both in women and in men.

Loneliness Linked With Heart Disease

Lead author of the study and Ph.D. student at Copenhagen University Hospital (Denmark), Anne Vinggaard Christensen explains that:

“Loneliness is more common today than ever before, and more people live alone. Previous research has shown that loneliness and social isolation are linked with coronary heart disease and stroke, but this has not been investigated in patients with different types of cardiovascular disease.”

Both men and women that felt lonely were three times more likely to have symptoms of anxiety and depression. Those people also report having a lower quality of life.

The study was presented at the European Society of Cardiology’s annual nursing conference – EuroHeart 2018. It used data from 13,463 patients with several heart diseases like: ischaemic heart disease, arrhythmia, heart failure or heart valve disease. Researchers used data from national registers and results from the DenHeart survey, following information from April 2013 and April 2014.

Two Important Questions To Assess Health Outcomes

The survey had questions for the patients regarding physical and mental health and how much social support they have. Loneliness was measured through two questions:

  1. “Do you have someone to talk to when you need it?”
  2. “Do you feel alone sometimes even though you want to be with someone?”

Vinggaard Christensen added that it was important to gather data on patients that lived alone and that lived with others because living alone doesn’t necessarily mean people feel lonely and living with others can’t prevent you from feeling lonely.

She said that “loneliness is a strong predictor of premature death, worse mental health, and lower quality of life in patients with cardiovascular disease, and a much stronger predictor than living alone, in both men and women.”

Vinggaard Christensen concludes that the study “shows that asking two questions about social support provides a lot of information about the likelihood of having poor health outcomes.”

Rex Austin

Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere

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