A team of researchers at the American College of Cardiology explored the effects of social isolation and loneliness on heart health. The study is published in the journal JACC: Heart Failure.
The researchers analyzed data from a UK Biobank study conducted over 12 years. More than 400,000 middle-aged and older adult participants completed self-reported questionnaires about their health and experiences of social isolation and loneliness.
The results revealed that the negative effects of social isolation and loneliness include an increased risk of heart failure, hospitalization, or death by 15% to 20%. These factors are also linked to higher scores of tobacco use, obesity, and diabetes.
The authors added: “The relationship with social isolation and loneliness is probably strongest in persons at extremes of social isolation and loneliness and compounded by low socioeconomic status. Because social determinants of health are increasingly recognized as important components of patient-centered health care, it may be appropriate to incorporate specific interventions, such as ‘social prescribing’ into care.”
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Liang, Y. Y., Chen, Y., Feng, H., Liu, X., Ai, Q. H., Xue, H., Shu, X., Weng, F., He, Z., Ma, J., Ma, H., Ai, S., Geng, Q., & Zhang, J. (2023). Association of Social Isolation and Loneliness With Incident Heart Failure in a Population-Based Cohort Study. JACC. Heart failure, S2213-1779(23)00026-4. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jchf.2022.11.028