Too often we wait until a problem gets too overwhelming before we try to address it. As the public continues to grapple with the losses of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, mental health is a continuous topic of discussion. That’s why this recent study published by European Society of Cardiology on loneliness is particularly of note. Researchers found that loneliness has a major impact on the heart, and overall wellness.
Experts studied more than 13,000 patients to look at the connections between illnesses impacting the heart, such as heart failure and heart disease, and a lack of social support. Participants were asked whether they lived alone and their general feelings of loneliness. Researchers found that those who felt alone consistently had worse outcomes than those who didn’t, despite initial physical health diagnosis. Additionally, both men and women who felt lonely were three times more likely to experience anxiety and depression. They also reported having a lower quality of life. “We adjusted for lifestyle behaviours and many other factors in our analysis, and still found that loneliness is bad for health,” said researcher Vinggard Christensen.
This study’s findings are helpful to health professionals and serve as a reminder to the masses of the importance of treating physical, psychological and social stressors simultaneously to improve positive outcomes.