Being lonely and socially isolated can increase a person's risk of heart disease or stroke, new research suggests.
The effect loneliness has on the heart is similar to that seen in people who suffer anxiety or have stressful jobs, experts found. Researchers from the University of York, the University of Liverpool and Newcastle University reviewed evidence on the impact loneliness has on heart disease and stroke risk.
They examined 23 relevant studies, involving more than 181,000 adults, where 4,628 coronary heart disease and 3,002 stroke "events" were recorded. After analysing the data they found that loneliness and isolation were associated with a 29% increase in risk for coronary heart disease and a 32% increase in risk of stroke.
"We found an association between poor social relationships and incident cardiovascular disease comparable in size to other recognised psycho-social risk factors, such as anxiety and job strain," the authors wrote in the journal Heart.
Source - Independent