According to a recent report published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, isolation and loneliness both increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality.
Researchers have been studying the negative effects of isolation on health for quite some time. Still, despite this mountain of research, the full extent of the damage done by isolation and loneliness has eluded academics.
To shed light on these effects, a group of academics recently combed through the literature on the issue. Socially isolated people were shown to have a 30% increased risk of cardiovascular disease and a 30% increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease compared to the general population.
The researchers say that the widespread prevalence of social isolation and loneliness during and after the COVID-19 epidemic makes this susceptibility to cardiovascular disorders especially noteworthy at the current time. In light of the epidemic, 36% of Americans, according to a recent poll, have experienced feelings of isolation and loneliness “often” or “nearly all the time” or “all the time.”
Although they found correlations between social isolation and loneliness and many other health issues, they found the biggest correlations to be those between social isolation and cardiovascular health. In particular, the researchers found that feelings of isolation raised the risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality by roughly 29% for heart attacks and 32% for strokes.
The group also discovered that those who live alone are more prone to have sedentary lifestyles and avoid exercise. Both have been linked to negative effects on heart health.
Researchers found that while isolation and loneliness are universal experiences, they are more common in some demographics, such as among the young, the elderly, and those from disadvantaged groups or low-income regions. Researchers said more study is needed to learn how people’s lack of social connections affects their cardiovascular health.